It would be easier,
so much easier when she
was going to die after the transplant.
I’d wake sweating out pills booze panic.
So sure her broken form would
be a found puddle of blood in fox print sheets.
Our apartment porch’s thin bars smashed in,
the window becomes shrouds
of glass covering her red
hair, as the invisible tendrils
of elder fungus reach down her throat
and snuff her breath into a final phlegm-less
cough, that imagined week where
the donated cells revolt, rise fire, and lava
across her face, down her back,
pull intestine down the toilet’s
hell face. Love becomes screams
through a dry burning mouth. But
I held her hand, thin and cold,
no fire, no choking, just long
drives to the hospital, new cell
civilization the turned winter
terror to spring, and time clogged
rivers, birds born, and worry
died in mouths. She was miracle
flesh, poisoned into life, quoting
books, crying over friends missed.
Then quiet across the room,
and the normal stab and haunt
of alcohol wipes in my nose.
The Things Dads Do
We pray. Our hands rudderless,
floppy, numb and burning,
skin ripped as red oak leaves,
the dying smell of a hospital.
The long steps up, the slow
steps down into a dinner
of tears and crackers and
dry hamburger meat. We pray
with greasy hands in the chapel,
lonely as the winter that strangles
and chokes the glass. The
cold moment with a god we
don’t know. Never felt. Don’t
feel now, same tendrils of sickness,
cannibal fingers interlaced,
pointers crossed as horns.
And yes, that thought is understood.
The sulfur wings, the comfortable
grip of the pen, the scrawled
name the only believable holy word,
the understanding of the decades
fevered babies, broken lungs,
the rot behind the eyes,
the look in desperate beds
of straw, of oak,
of steel. What father would
not eat the fire, choke back
the charred decision,
tear arm from arm, any
arm. We would murder
the moon, make piles of halos
of angels and birds,
knees mashing in faces,
kid-noses, lovers, and devils.
What would dads do?
BMT Day # 890
The long net of a storm
pulled the length of the sky,
tight and unwelcoming as
we trekked towards the end
of our new street and into
patch of trunks and underbrush.
My brown boots, the cuff
of dirt, around the midsole,
laces tighten and prepared.
Tread holds the pollen,
broken limbs of figwort
and sweet gum. The ankle
leather scraped from overgrowth,
as our shortcut dips into a deer trail.
It’s that moment when woods
become a forest I find comfort.
I have stood under darker trees,
under darker clouds
laden in spears, each bolt with its
own name, its own unique touch of death.
I have hiked through this before
running does not make it easier.
You learn to wait - through,
over, at, the hard decision of spring.
We look ahead, as the brush and branches
open, brown spring limbs spread
into rebirth of buttercup.
Yellow caps spark in the layer of green,
next to the lone oak, strong and stable,
rocks jut as a mountain range, alone
among the invasive blossom of suns.
(C.L. Liedekev is a writer/propagandist who lives in Conshohocken, PA with his real name, wife, and children. He attended most of his life in the Southern part of New Jersey. His work has been published in such places as Humana Obscura, Red Fez, Open Skies Quarterly, River Heron Review, and Vita Brevis. Many of my recent poems have dealt with my 10-year-old daughter’s bone marrow transplant and recovery).
The Beautiful Space-