The hospice room is quiet
I can hear my dad breathing steadily in his sleep.
Not wanting to disturb him
I sit there in the half light coming from the bathroom door
clutch my hot tea
and try not to flee the stillness—
the pain that waits in quiet corners
to roll in hot tears down my cheeks.
After I eat the cookies that the sweet care attendant gave me
there’s nothing to do but sit and listen to him sleep
the way he must have so often listened to me sleep
when I was a blond and rosy baby.
Back then, all he had to do was hold me
and I was safe.
Now, all I have to do is let him go
and he is safe, too.
aching with love.