A Hundred Gourds 3:2 March 2014

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Donna Buck - USA


I plan to see him the following Friday after the diagnosis. I hope to reconcile. But after the chemo he goes on a bender and speeds up the process. A sudden turn. He’s in the VA hospital, in a coma, but hanging on.

That night, a loud tapping on my bedroom window. The digital clock says it’s midnight. An intruder must have scaled the fence and is in my yard. There is moonlight but when I look I see no one. Tap. Tap tap. Tap. I look again. Then, the other window. Tap. Tap. Loud, insistent. No one is there. I lie awake for most of the night.

The next afternoon my sister calls. He died this morning, she says. “What time?” I ask, and she tells me he was brain dead at midnight. At first I’m angry; no one called for me to come. The black sheep daughter. But I was there after all. At midnight he told me first.

Lost Palms Oasis—
wind through the dry leaves . . .
desert vespers

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