No one answers, but I hear the TV’s drone.
I push open the door and there’s my old dad
hanging like an exhausted gymnast over the arm of the couch,
his fingers touching the floor, his pajamas on inside out.
How does he survive
the booze, the pills, the lack of food
and love? Who could love him? I love him,
but what is this? Again,
I have found him in time to take him to the hospital.
“I want to die,” he cries as I fold him into the car,
and it becomes his mantra while I drive
past the bowling alley, the gun shop.
Should I stop and buy a pistol?
“I have nothing to live for,” he says.
What can I say?
There is nothing to live for;
we make it up as we go along.
The earth didn’t have to exist,
but here it is, and here we are,
parked in the Emergency lot.
He stares fiercely out the windshield.
I touch his hand; it’s cold and scaly.
“There’s always bowling, I joke.
“I don’t bowl,” he says.
We smile at each other.
“There’s this,” I say to my father.
~by Susan Browne