Monday, January 4, 2016

The last tme I said no

There was that night I drove home and saw you seated
on the patio overlooking the San Francisco Bay, 
the lights twinkling above it, all spread before us like a galaxy. 
Then your hand waved a small hello and pointed to the chair 
beside you, unable to speak, your ears so fastened to the radio voice 
and then I heard the UFO talk and shot you a disdainful look 
and walked away. That was a time when you would have loved 
me to say, yes, to sit with you and listen to the radio and speculate 
about Area 55 with cups of brandy in our hands, feeling the night 
press on our backs, the sweet tingling mix of fear and gratitude. 
But that was not the last time I said no to you 
and I cannot remember the last time I said yes, really and truly, yes! 
--that "hurl myself through a pane of glass" kind of yes 
that I could say right now, if only you were here.
I could hurl myself into the stars, into whatever else is up there,
to say yes with such fervor, to hear what you heard on the radio 
and talk with you about unlighted stars and aliens who 
bear witness to our doomed vivacity.

I could learn secrets that might help us now.

A small space

To force me to get him that one forbidden pleasure he still desires 
in this his final year (neither knows it will be the final year 
but we consider it),  
he tells me: 
"It's all I have left in my little life."

He means it literally--his life is shrinking from town to house 
to room to king bed to hospital cot in the corner of our room. 
He has been warned: never salt, never! but he craves sausage biscuists
every morning. He is too thin to be recognized but pleads, Oh come on, 
let me have the damn biscuit. His little life comes up again.  

I wish I could explain how it feels 
to sit beside him who has been so humbled. 
To sit with him in the drive through window of McDonald's 
on our way to the dialysis center. 
To order for him the #8 breakfast: 
Sausage biscuit, coffee, hash browns, a second biscuit. 
To know it is bad bad bad but it's all the food he will want 
until tomorrow. 
To stare straight ahead, to know something is coming soon 
to kill him.