No matter how he wrested himself silent in night, six days post-stroke he woke fluent in former languages, backtracking this time here. Mercy nurses, attendants, remedied in their own. Once he registered, all he cawed out was if it’s too far gone, we need to talk. All of this, what I am, doesn’t know how to die. All I know how to do is survive. All I ever done. If it’s time, tell me, tell me, give me four days. I’d like to have that blanket Dustin designed. Damnit, I hate to leave this beauty, life. On the fourth, came the Pendleton, delivered right on time. His breath slowed, eased, then quit. That was it. After some hours the rest of us slept. Some of us sleep still left.
Copyright © 2018 by Allison Adelle Hedge Coke. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 17, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.