Time compressed a lifetime to a single moment, drawn slender, nearly warping the second hand, yet each escaping stroke pounded heavy, a muted hammer against the polished anvil of time’s progression.
The waiting was over. Wringing hands and silent prayers were done.
You entered, unwelcomely wanted, through an angel’s open door. It was June. Iowa June.
The air clung thick. Soundless single syllables just heard beyond the pounding blood of my ears, beneath my mother’s panicked hopeful breathing, against the ironic tapping of your white Florsheim shoes, covered in blood.
Our suspended sanctuary broken with your nod, and respectful question. Yet our vigil held a moment longer, well over the precipice. “I’m sorry,” you said, “he didn’t survive.” All point of reference, gone. Asking, “What!?” You repeated yourself scratching at an explanation. My mother’s orchestral voice raised in tension, sweet timbre of violin strings, disbelieving, could only sing, “Oh no! Oh no! I will never hold his hand again! Oh my God! Oh no!”
To a pinhole view the world resolved. In haunting hush my brother’s sweet tears were all I heard to comfort a life’s long loss. The room devoured, swallowing breath in its labored breathing, Jonah in the whale. Details smeared in fresco, glossy, distorted. Every step, every word relaxed along the corridor, penetrating, piercing my battled grasp to cling on. You there, browning blood rooted in the piped white stitching. Your words, soundless.
Disdain revolved my iron neck, begging to turn away, only to see her there, slanting through hell’s door; a pig in squalor, a nurse in white, makeup of a whore. Piercing the fleeting glimpse of any dream with, “You need to gather the belongings. Come with me.”
Fleeing you, this trap, I followed her. Fat, short, squat legs pounding busy hallway tiles; purpose of a jack hammer. Spinning, burning in overload through hospital denizens, features stretched, some kind, some lost, some loud… An eon’s flooded blur slammed prostrate to clinical white doors. Another trap to open.
“It’s all in here”, she said, thrusting upon me the brown frayed grocery bag, clasped in sparkles of Swingline precision, his name in black, still wafting a Sharpied rush to the end. Would it ever end?
Heavy armed, I slowly turned to face an eternity lulled to desperate lows, stretching it’s Einstein’d moments illusively, forever before me, pressing mass upon mass, gravity surreally bending the tears to flood.
In memory of the waiting room and the aftermath, the day my father died in surgery, June 17, 1985.
Written for d’Verse Poets Pub – http://dversepoets.com/