Here's a Poem

How My Father Made it Easier for Me to Fly Back to California

It was the last time I saw my father,
and I mean that as the last time
I saw him as him,
not someone changed
by the thick trucks of morphine coursing,
chugging through his body on a roadmap of veins,
rural capillaries,
the massive city of his heart.

He was standing at the window of his hospital room
wearing the short, papery dress of his hospital gown,
waving goofily.
Then he cinched the gown tighter at his thin waist
to accentuate the perfect shape of his basketball gut.

He put a pinky to the corner of his mouth and pursed
his lips, sleepy eyelids, one raised eyebrow,
mouthing, “Happy Birthday, Mister President” through the glass.
He blew me a kiss with a flourish of his thick hand,
then quickly turned to moon me through the slit of his gown.

We both laughed, him silently, framed by the window,
me walking into the thick humidity of a late New York summer,
as if everything was going to be alright.