we re back in the e r
you couldn t breathe again
this time 3 am and your little
lungs straining for life and breath
your cough shook me from some dream
your eyes were desperate
yes son we re going
will i get a shot i don t want a shot daddy
no son you won t get a shot today
because i don t want a shot
the doctor will help you breathe son here hold my hand
and i won t get a shot

the white walls of the tiny room
are the same as they were five years ago
the time you stayed three days under a plastic canopy
i slept in a chair
friends brought food
nurses brought needles and tubes
and i find the same thing now
as i realized back then
you are stronger than i am


Do you still see the dead
walking among the crowd,
in the library, on the bus,
at the playground? Everywhere
but the old stone church
where bones grow brittle
beneath its crumbling weight?

You once said they smile
and whisper words you cannot
fathom, turn, and walk away.
They carry light in glass jars,
brushing against the living
like a winter wind through
a forest of barren trees.