Decision Made

He sits on the front porch
to drink his drink
from a coffee mug until 2 or 3,
from a plastic tumbler the rest
of the day and much of the night.
From my kitchen window
I see the red glow
of his burning cigarette
across the unlit road
when neither of us sleeps.

He’s been ill.
He’s lost his capacity for recall,
his driver’s license, and
his once successful business.
Always in pain,
joints swollen and sore,
mostly he sits, staring at the concrete.
Sometimes he nods off.

I’ve awakened him
when the snow has built up
around his feet,
sifted into a blanket on his lap.
“Hi. Craig. Aren’t you cold?”
It’s been an hour since he’s stirred.
I was worried.

He smiles, bemused,
sees the cold cigarette between his fingers.
Before I’ve crossed the street
he’s lit up,
his body slumping into
the folding chair.
No more decisions to make,
no more than if
he wants a drink, needs a coat.

A day passes. Another. Many.
Today the porch is empty.
In a wall of noise the emergency truck arrives,
a fire engine, an ambulance,
two sheriff’s cars.
There is a rush around him
as he hasn’t rushed in years.

A choice, one last decision to make,
to go.

Build Up

The winter’s first snow,
light enough to flick away with a broom,
with a few extra swipes at the steps.

The next snow, or possibly the next, takes a shovel
and a little more effort,
more muscle and some sweat.

Building up strength and endurance
with each storm able to lift more weight
until the blizzard dumps five feet on the drive,

I, fit as a fiddle, strong as an ox,
call my friend Greenie. He has a truck
with a plow.

The baby arrives, small enough
to be carried in the crook of one arm,
grows, and grows, and grows,

demanding two arms,
two arms and a hip, his own two feet,
his own car. Maybe a truck –

with a plow.

January 1, 2013