Stop Me If
I’m sitting in a plastic chair by a hospital bed
and the old man is dying.
I know what will happen to his body.
And his soul I’ll leave to people smarter than me.
But what about the rest? Where does it go?
His skill with small tools.
His lifelong devotion to shitty crime novels.
His ability to quote every stupid line
from every stupid movie he ever loved.
His recipe for the perfect waffle.
His ability to tell clementine from tangerine
with barely a glance.
His jokes! The old man had
so many jokes.
With a practiced cadence
and a magician’s smile, he would
open the door to a world filled with
men and women and chickens and
cavemen and goat fuckers and farmers
and doctors and lawyers and
where the fuck does all that go?
And as I try to puzzle this out, I realize that
the Old Man is awake. Not just awake. He’s speaking to me.
I lean in close to capture the final words he’ll ever say.
Through furnace-hot breath, through desert-dry lips
he whispers: “A priest. A minister. And a rabbi…
"Are in a boat…"
And then he’s done.
I can’t help but think about that priest. That minister. That rabbi.
Does it shake their faith? After a lifetime of belief, of devotion and dedication,
does it shake their faith? Does it shatter their will? To find themselves
Stranded and desperate.
Scared and disoriented.
Lost and alone.
Drifting forever in a tiny boat.
In a pool of blue water.
At the back of my mind.