Nov 162012

by Zan Bockes


My mother’s voice

a sibilance of secrets

told six-year-old me

my father’s life was almost over

her lips understating

alarm, not letting him hear

she hoped his death was near.

She laid his hunting jacket

on the pile for Goodwill

and the racket of his rage

rang through our house.

In my bed, I prayed

for the fight to subside,

Is it over?

afraid I was the cause,

cradling myself in my

own arms, wishing

whispers meant

doors closing softly

on sweet goodnights

not fear, not deceit.

And now,

40 years later, my mother gone,

his anger echoes in a hospital room

at a nurse’s clumsy hand,

his shouts keeping him alive.

Here, near the door,

I hold myself within myself,

still praying for the end.