Somewhere in the penalties
or in a decision, I am certain.
Once found it will be
as if I had all along known
in the flurry it would be stashed
in the last drawer—
a body at rest from memory.
But for the Redeemer
out of wood and its yellowed walls,
all had been white—
a room in the small town,
fluorescence over a cot.
My grandfather wasn’t dying,
wasn’t even hearing a word of it
from a circle part apology,
on how breathing was to be
about running after his breath,
kicking the habit of lighting up.
I didn’t know these days
lawyers had time to be doctors,
he had coughed.
Tense laughter had ended
further diagnosis. Why
I think of amnesty instead—
easier in terms of everyone, easier
to make everyone face the wall
than each other.
Back in the city a phone rings,
the cross is the first to go.
A conviction affirmed crumbles
from a new moon between blinds.
At this same time
tomorrow it will be so certain
he has spent the day
by the waves, following advice
on prayer, first steps to recovery.
The knob at times slips. Something
out of its case rolls to an edge.
It is a matter that cannot be undone.
My palm that had been my grasp has
his first tremble, then
a sudden formality of all that may have
unraveled someplace, inside.