He is old and mutters to himself.
Anger hones him like a blade
his hand on my shoulder, sharp
as a hook. He won’t use his walker, so he glides
down the urine-soaked hallways
in his gleaming wheelchair, like a phantom
or a machine. He does not
believe in his gored feet, his footfalls haunt him
like grandpa’s ghost.
He’s gouged out his eyes, so he thinks
he’s invisible. His robe falls
open, the disowned bones
of his chest blazon like the bars
on a cage. When he thinks
I’m not looking, he flashes his
metallic smile at the empty mirrors
in the dark room of his skull.
Does he see her there, smiling back
the way she used to from her window
her eyes shining in the morning
so you knew it was alright to play
that you could trust the grass, believe
earth to hold you up. Sometimes at night
when you heard beasts in the black corners
of your room, she’d let you sleep with her
then in the warm shadow of her body
it was safe to close your eyes—
but she hung herself, leaving him widowed
and all of us orphaned.
But he never speaks of that
only grinds out curses on my brothers
calls in his lawyers to script
over and over his will.
He wants me to sneak in liquor—
they won’t let him have it in the home.
I won’t do it, but Antigone will.
He spirits the bottle away like his memories
and sips just enough to make sure
he will never see again.