Words leak outside their decibel range,
float down the hall, lap at thin walls,
waking up sister–the start of a new choreography.
Mom at dad’s bedside waiting for a deposit
once done independently, with primitive efficiency,
a simple trip to the bathroom erased
by unrelenting pain–the master of a new existence.
The shame of failure–
eyes, sad, in the dark;
air silent in this room thick with the smell
of his body respiring a sour therapeutic cocktail
of pills. Mom sits,
shares in the silence, the thickness of it.
Emptying dad’s urinal at 4 a.m.
mom feels the changing shape of their narrative;
tries to find balance on the ground of
uncertainty, her waking moments spent chasing his
every breath–to see if it’s real.