Watching My Father Die

October 25, 2012

From the kitchen I could hear the TV.

He sat before it for hours,

not watching.

The TV just passed the time.

He had no choice.


The shows paraded before him

in a fog of partial comprehension,

and he, unable to change the channel

even if he wanted to, sat,

waiting to die.


I too had sat alone before the TV,

paralyzed by my fear,

trapped by my anxiety.

The shows paraded before me,

but I comprehended all too well,

I, who had a choice.


So I went to his house

and busied myself with jobs

trying to fashion a farewell

that he’d understand.

I’d look in on him,

his eyes dazed

as the TV chattered on.


There was so much I wanted to tell him,

things held inside for years,

at first chased there

by the storms of my youth,

and later because

I knew no way

to let them out.


I didn’t know how to tell him

I loved him,

at least not in words.

Instead, I mowed the lawn,

I patched the porch cement,

and still I held it all inside

as I watched my father die.


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