Appointment

Letters come in a threat
Reminders that the benign can become malignant
The feelings brushed under the carpet resurface again
I want to stick my head in the sand
But it is not I who will be hurt if I do;
Our voices become loud when we speak for others
More so than when we speak on behalf of ourselves

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Preparations

The business after departure puts a lump in my throat
It no longer matters if an outfit is flattering
Only that it is aptly somber for the occasion
And fitting enough to meet you in;
That last expression of repose
I wonder if I can truly accept it

Last Visit

Our voices and our hearth
Must call out to you;
You are the butterfly that dances in our garden
You are the sparrow that perches on the tree
You are the soldier beetle listening on us
Until we catch you and set you free
Who wants to depart in tears?
When one can have laughter and fond remembrance

Night-Shift Dad

Father, my father
Was a man of shadows
Who woke in the day when I was away
And who never shared our evening time meals
While I dreamed, he slotted and sorted
While I explored, he was a boulder lying,
A hard form beneath the coverlet.
I never knew him
Until he was old and gray,
Lame and wanting so much
For someone to talk to.

Convalescent

Sometimes all I can do is throw you things
Sweets and magazines, photos and kisses
I’m not sure what will lift your lethargy
That acceptance of the inevitable
But I want you for a moment to smile
I want you to be reminded that you are loved
And that I think of you
Even if you must think of nothing

Grandfather

You have always treated me well and kindly
And spoiled me with the love that might have been your mother’s
Before you were spirited away from a revolution
And became a beggar teacher with a young wife
And crossed the seas to skin your knuckles
Trying to become a chef where the demands cut
You raw to the blood beneath
And froze your heart to two wayward sons
One too slow and heartbreaking to watch
And the other one too clever
With a memory too long, holding grudges
But you have always treated me kindly
And I will embrace you and dot your wrinkled face
With kisses, because for all your faults
I love you

Sibling’s Birthday

I love you when you complain about work
And slouch on your seat as if you’ll slide right down
How you rib me for burping up Chinese tonight
And Instagram the cupcakes, the cake, and the chocolate
So gleefully, to make you the envy of all your peers
Even though you accepted my card so nonchalantly
When I peer in the tissue paper
I see it has disappeared
Secreted with all your other treasures