Sunday, 6 June 2021

Power’s Out           

by Nina Rubinstein Alonso 

Lying in the hospital bed Fernando
gazes nowhere darkly pale when 
he says ‘Can’t croak yet got to wait
until my brother Juan’s back from Paris’
as if time’s train arrives only

after that particular plane lands 
foresworn determinate moment
can’t be adjusted or shoved sideways
invisible schedules must be obeyed
no way to juggle or amend

so it’s useless trying to predict
watching him sleep just keep
wiping saliva dripping down his chin
until I feel a thud of sudden quiet 
an energy drop as if power’s out
in that moment I know I know nothing
hold my breath pinch each second
waiting for rhythm of inhalation
has he stopped breathing
maybe I’m wrong but

rescue doesn’t happen only
wide emptiness flat days of failure
family bringing food I can’t eat
friends repeating cliches about peace
about being somewhere invisible

nervous hugs scolding that I’m too thin
offering words of numb blankness
as if to pull me back from his death
and the best I can do even now
is throw words at it.

* * * * *

Nina Rubinstein Alonso’s work has appeared in Ploughshares, The New Yorker,
Ibbetson Street, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Peacock Journal, Muddy River Poetry Review, Southern Women’s Review
, etc.  Her book This Body was published by David Godine Press, her chapbook Riot Wake is upcoming from Červená Barva Press and a story collection is in the works.