by Tina Barry
We recognize our father,
even with his edges blurred,
and the baritone that once curled
around our names, lost
in the hush
of the hospital’s language.
He’s comfortable, the nurse tells us,
pointing to the bag of elixir,
that, drop by drop, ushers him from this life.
Remember? My sister wonders later,
after coffee, after sharing what little
of him we have to share.
Who could forget the phone call
from his mistress, mother snoring
in flannel beside him.
A single blip at 2 a.m., snatched
from the receiver, a siren
in the silence between our twin beds.
I had covered the mouthpiece with my palm
as we listened, expecting,
even then, the dark rumble of death.
* * * * *
Tina Barry is the author of Beautiful Raft (Big Table Publishing 2019) and Mall Flower (Big Table Publishing, 2016). Tina’s poems and fiction have appeared in numerous literary publications such as The Best Small Fictions (2020 and 2016), Drunken Boat, Connotation Press, The American Poetry Journal, Nasty Women Poets: An Anthology of Subversive Verse and A Constellation of Kisses. Tina is a three-time Pushcart Prize nominee and has several Best of the Net nods. She is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn, Gemini Ink, and Writers.com.