Choking on air
by john sweet

    in the last year
    of his life
    my father is less

    a shadow
    casting a shadow
    and then twisted flesh
    choking on air

    in the i.c.u. bed at
    two in the morning
    he could be anyone

    an impersonal sheet
    over anonymous bones
    a clever imitation of
    a middle-aged man
    in a coma
    and the poem is not

    the poem is survival
    until the machines
    are turned off

    the poem is a shroud
    the body is burned

    after this
    any words that
    might have mattered
    are left unspoken

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