words #16

IV.
When he retired, he devoted his time
to emptying bottles. He rejoiced
in the weight of a new bottle,
the heft in his hand, the first
and second
and third and fourth and fifth and every pour.
He rejoiced a lot.
He broke his nose,
his ribs. He bruised his head.
He had pneumonia, a subdural hematoma,
a necrotic gallbladder, liver disease.
He forgot his meds.
He took his dog’s barbiturates.
He answered the door with loaded shotgun.
He threatened to use it.

V.
If I placed each hour that I’ve spent in hospitals
end to end
I could walk across them
to the moon.

VI.
I tried to save my father
and snow fell like stars.
I tried to save my father
and rivers hurried to the oceans.
I tried to save my father
and midnight stalked each dawn.
I tried to save my father
and leaves relinquished their green.
I tried to save my father
and days collected like flowers.
I tried to save my father
and months cluttered my house.
I tried to save my father
and years grew weedy with thorns.
I tried to save my father
and my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
I tried to save my father
and the tumor had devoured her pancreas.
I tried to save my father
and the surgery was relentless.

__________________________________________________________________________

Today, the next installment of the multi-part free verse poem. Tomorrow will bring some more parts. And possibly the end!

Also, I’m having a formatting problem with part VI, which I’ll try to correct tomorrow if I can figure out what’s causing it.

And note: for parts I, II, and III, please see words #15.

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