Kind Words

to MAX

What the sky learned from the birds and wind
was tentative and lonely. The simple words
of sunlight talk me back to earth, but offer no miracle,
only the stale air sinking beneath the blurred shape
of my clothes as I stand guard on Ward B, of Kaiser Hospital,
resting on the white ridged columns of my balled fists.
My son’s smooth face breathes out morphemic dreams
into the traffic 4 flights below. My laments
fall through an hourglass
in search of wings. Life inches like a flame
down the white body of a candle, until it forgets
to remember what came before.

…Inside his dream,
I watch the hole in his heart
look back at me like a looking glass.
I stick my hand into the dark space
of his life, reaching for a latch
or umbrella, and come up empty.
Through a cloud of ether, I see
my grandmother rise from her death
and stiffen a thread of skin with spit
for the eye of a needle. Her words
are ancient tongues as she works
to stitch the silence that divides his life…

When I look up a community of gulls slips
over white flecked rooftops that drop suddenly
into San Francisco Bay, dark islands of rain
follow closely behind. The doctor sweeps
like a scythe over a landscape of electrical pulses,
bearing endless scrolls of digital graffiti that make no promises.
My grandmother shuffles back
to heaven, forgetting to invite me.
I look for another country,

having no power to rescue my child
from the doctor’s “kind words.”