I asked the nurse to leave
and she did,
followed by my weeping mother.
I was left alone
in that dark room,
my father’s body still,
small on the hospital bed.

I sat down on the beside chair
and lay my head
on his cold hand
and breathed him
breathed him in
beyond the stale sweat
and sickness,
breathed him deep
into myself,
into I
who he
had created 27 years before.

His hand felt false,
fake beneath my hot cheek
and I knew it would never
feel real
never again.

I pressed my cheek
into his hand
until spider crack shots of pain
eddied through my skull,
then I lifted my head
and looked at his closed face,
his pale face,
his sunken face,
his dead face.

I began to cry.