by J.K. Durick

House-settling sounds go up the stairs
like your father, those last few years.
One at a time, following
slight whistle of his breathing.
His life squeezing his heart, his lungs
so small the wind in the eaves
sounds the same, months, even years
after his ghost has become all that’s left
to end the day, take the stairs
in his careful, measured way.

You hear him say something
to your mother, their bed creaks
under his weight and the familiar
clink of his lighter, lights
the last cigarette of his day.

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