As He Lay There

As He Lay There August 30, 2021

When my father was close

to death, we were stripped

of our history. I sat by his bed,

holding the ancient, twig-like

hand of a ninety-three-year-old

who, though absent for years,

was mythic to me.


As he lay there, under the weight

of a stroke, life undressed the myth

I put on him and he was just a frail

old man who had introduced me

to the sea, who had loved wood

into marvelous shapes, who sur-

rounded himself with books

though he was a slow reader.


After a lifetime of holding back,

he wanted to speak, though he

couldn’t. And I understood

him completely.



A Question to Walk With: Describe someone important in your life and how your sense of them has shifted over the years.

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