God saw you getting tired

by Ash Goedker
– for my step-dad, Brian, who died and left us his poem 
saying “I think I’ll sleep some more”
as in the mountain lion sawing our yard
in quarters, was God agitating your skin,
as in from the deck you stood to listen,
as in hearing breakfast is not served, and 
your sternum is blooming with hunger 
into a rare lump, as in you backed 
into bed, which said God sees you 
and he raises you leukemia by Christmas
as in Mom will remember chopping onions,
then heaving your body from the toilet,
as in she thought you died on the toilet,
as in she thought what could she do
with your toothbrush, your bedding, 
with herself, as in you’re not allowed 
to go. Noah recalls nothing but a pan 
dropping, and the rattling echo in his ears
getoutgetout of his head, as in get out 
of his room, then Adam says he was 
labeled a traitor long before you died, 
as in there’s an entire house with holes 
punched into walls, as in he’ll smoke 
cigarettes for his brothers and his mother, 
for their acceptance, as in it’ll take a life.
But there’s a sister who casts spells,
as in Jess could peel back the covers 
over your skin and shake them clean 
until you are all pristine and smiling
with teeth, as in you can see in the mirror 
again, as in yourself, as in the mountain 
lion who delivers, not the man who accepts,
the news of death, and all the boys and all 
the king’s horses couldn’t bring Jenny 
to believe in God again, as in we watched
Tash take a leave of absence from the living 
room, and we called her name and called
her a loner, and she is yet to wave back, 
as in she’s on to something, in riding 
a Ferris wheel you built for her in her mind.
As in I’ve never left Fort Snelling,
as in I’m folding a map in my hand, 
and I trace the snowmelt from the lines 
striking ice to find you as you rest 
in the traffic of all these other soldiers,
as I call for you, as in I’m thirty, I am 
twenty-two, as I am still nine, waiting 
in line to see you tucked into your casket, 
I am stretching on tippy toes, 
as in God sees me getting tired.