In the white room, blue eyes look at me from the bed, tearing
as I say, softly, the words he knows are coming: we miss him. I ask
about his dog—put to sleep!—I am shaking, unable to think;
he whispers. No, it’s his oxygen pump. I know there is a television beyond
the ugly curtain drawn between us and those on the other side. I wonder
if their silence is as loud as ours. I am trying
to think of something happy to say, of my life, three hours up two interstates
and a road that passes through the snow desolation of the Southern Tier.
I’m giving him the gift and he is struggling with the paper because
of his IV, so I am helping him open the box with the bowler
mug that sits today on my kitchen window sill.
Jenn Monroe is the author of Something More Like Love (Finishing Line Press, 2012), the executive producer of Extract(s):Daily Dose of Lit and executive editor of Eastern Point Press. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poems have been published in a number of literary journals, most recently The Meadowland Review. She lives in NH with her husband and their young daughter.