Sleeper

Dedicated to my father…

Propped, I hear the animal sounds of your breath as it ebbs and flows like a growling lion.
Your ringed finger forced into a shelf for you to loll against as the whiskey beats you to sleep.
Your chest fights against the force of the poisons in your blood as it pushes you deeper into
your battles against the devils of the daytime.
Yet you look so peaceful and childlike.
We are joined in this way, by the Xs and the Ys.  By your father and my grandfather.
By the ones who staggered this path of unsteadiness.  Who gave us a suffering, a torture
an avid avoidance, a spirited running away and a drowning of feeling.
Did you create me or I did I distill from your essence?
Did you spring from your father or would you happen anyway from circumstance?
Then you fall silent.
I strain to hear the baby sounds of contented breaths – of lightened exhale, inhale.
The time tracks that have deepened into your face in the recent years ease out with every
sinking breath.
…and I know your bad arm is so much more than you tell yourself it is.
Even so, I let the weight of time lean hard against you and edge us closer to the cheap
seats of an elderly exit.
Will you whimper or will you roar like a lion when the time comes?
You snort and begin to rattle again.
Sleep on.  I want you here as you are and will tell great and exciting lies to the children of
the good things you did when I was a boy.

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