The night Joe left

October 2, 2007

Joe asks me
to stay,
to keep
the earthly vigil
into this night.
He speaks no words;
nor do his eyes
look upon me.
No one knows
except he
and I.

This dad cannot
take leave of his family
while lying helpless –
unable to whisper
“don’t worry”
unable to say
goodbye.

exhausted,
the others begin
to go home.

It will be better
this way.
I the sentry
who falls asleep,
He the spirit who sheds
this breaking body.
this sweet life…

Joe continues to stare
at a ceiling he does not see
while his inner core
prepares for
departure.

Across the hall
irritated alarms split
the midnight silence
as some poor soul
gets up to
wander.

tell him
he can go – it is okay
to go.

Sitting in the visitor’s chair
at three
a.m.
I fall
victim
to
the
mathematical
drone
of
the
oxygen
machine…

Soon
after,
he touches me.

I awaken.

He is gone.