Sometimes he dances in the kitchen and I laugh
He sneaks a bite of what will be dinner and he
Turns on a heel fairly skipping out the door
Never mind the aging knees, never mind the callouses
That cover his palms or the thinning of his hair.
He is a boy. A child. A mischief maker, a thief,
Begging me to catch him, to raise my voice
In mock anger and to bat his hand away
Because it isn’t time for whatever he’s wanting…
He wants, he always wants. Looking for a treat
A snack, a kiss even. A release. He’s not content
To wait on anyone, not content to learn an ounce of patience
And he doesn’t see the value in any delay. His is a life of nows.
And now, now we wait for him, settling into uncertainty.
Luxuriating in each breath, each heartbeat saying that wasn’t the end of it.
While he sleeps, while he lies so still, so deeply unaware,
While his blood (his blood? Is it still his blood? With so much spilled and
So much given, the blood of 60 people now flows through his heart)
It feeds and nourishes and hopes to beat the devil in his guts
That has tried his meager patience for all of his life,
What is going through that quiet brain,
So slow, so still for once in all his days?
What is he slowly, carefully thinking, when
There are no muscles he can move,
No blinking eyes,
No sighs or hiccups to punctuate his breathing,
Just a steady 12-breaths-per-minute dialed onto that machine.
Has the stillness lead to an epiphany?
Does his brilliance, does his essence, rely on that frenetic movement
That surrounds him, defines him?
Does he dream?
In all my vital, rueful wakefulness
I dream, with eyes wide open,
Stiffly standing by his side
I dream that his eyes will open
I dream that he will look at me and
He will crack a slow smile
And he will say to me “I dreamt of dancing in the kitchen, and your laugh.”