For the months we waited, nothing extraordinary happened.
Gasping oxygen machines became the hypnotic proof of passing time,
his phlegmy cough the only intermittent interruption.
Tightly clasped shutters conceded strands of light,
claiming the floors and climbing the walls.
Swarming dust motes battled in limited sunlight.
Occasionally, my uncle thrummed an off-key guitar made of Cuban mahogany.
My mother read Scripture to herself from a chair in the corner of the room,
the susurrus of her ever-moving lips barely audible.
I sat on a wooden stool, numb from my sit bones to my fallow mind. The waiting…
Death slowly moved in, taking over
until the pallid tones of the room enveloped his skin,
and eventually, his humor.
His favorite eyewear was an ancient pair of pince-nez spectacles
whose spring had long since given way to being held on
with one veiny, trembling hand. It was dramatic and I approved.
When he went blind, he held the glasses to his chest.
I often found myself staring at the rise and fall of his magnified buttons.
It went on like this…
In the end, his hand slid slowly from his chest…
I marveled at how the spectacles continued to perch.
He must have been relieved that his heart could still see.