A wrist is not a body.

My father is dying
and the sink is full of eggshells.
A dinner of yolk and sirloin.

I am straightening the rugs in the house
harassed and wrinkled from dog play.
The living room rug has been pushed into a corner
as if someone meant to sweep under it.

Gout has taken my father’s right wrist.
A warning.
A wrist is not a body.
Toes are not a body, either.

I take him to lunch. I take him to dinner.
I bring home Chunky Monkey, his favorite.
My gifts are edible. First helpings.
I learned how to love this way.
Learned how to hold a knife
from the hand that can’t make a fist.

The rug, again, pressed under the couch.
The struggle of finding a lost toy.
The sink is too full to fill the water bowl.
I keep the ceiling fans on so I don’t notice the dust.
And the dog hair swirls in the corners.

In my dreams, my father has a heart attack
as he’s cooking dinner.
I keep asking if there’s anything I can help with.
I’ve already set the table.

I hope that it is electricity instead.
Not his body folding in on itself.
A wrong wire at work, jolting
him into forms he’s never been capable of.
The report will contain cholesterol levels,
the strength of the amperes,
pounds, and the number of
meals he fed us.

A wrist is not a body.
Toes are not a body.
Lungs are not a body.
Ears are not a body.
A shoulder is not a body.
A back is not a body.
Feet are not a body.
Hair is not a body.
A voice is not a body.
A heart is not a body.
Eyes are not a body.
A liver is not a body.
A stomach is not a body.

The kitchen still smells of fried meat.
I try to find something else to write about
other than yolk mixing with steak juice.
Sunset on a plate.

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