he spoke about food for the soul
as if it were a bucket fit for being filled
with something tangible like cold
clean water pumped deep from a well
and therefore capable of being poured out
or carelessly spilled, i suppose.
and as i strolled the spotless halls
at st clare’s hospital, the air heavy
with a sickly-sweet scent of disinfectant
i had no idea what words like those
were meant to convey on my way to his room
with a neatly folded copy of the post.
with shades pulled closed i kept a silent vigil
by the bed so he wouldn’t be alone,
and when those final labored breaths came thick
through cracked and swollen lips
he placed his hand in mine
until there was nothing left to hold.