At George’s Wake

David Colodney

Jonathan spoke openly about his father’s death,
that he didn’t have to worry about his dad’s speechless
sort of pain anymore, the inaudible facial grimaces
doing all the complaining his voice refused to.
And Jonathan told me his mom would be fine in time,
she would stop crying herself to sleep every night,
she would one day be able to stand in her and his father’s
bedroom, look in the wood-framed mirror above the bathroom vanity
and not see George standing behind her, his burly bear arms
enveloping her Victorian waist.

Yes, mom would be fine, Jonathan said, life would one day turn normal,
and for him, on the nights he missed his father the most, he could look
to the skies and see one exploding star that would guide him
to where his father was in heaven. Or that he could always put in an old
VCR tape of his dad clowning around in a Gators hat or Dolphins t-shirt
and it would be almost like having him back.

And he told me not to worry either. The weight now lifted,
none of us had to coordinate shuffles from doctor to doctor,
consult to consult, chemo visits where yesterday’s hopes got swallowed
by today’s despair, low blood counts or rampant fever out of nowhere.

Jonathan looked at my empty glass, placed on the kitchen table
between us, said I should get another one, and I got up,
kissed the top of his head,
stumbled out of the kitchen, past the mourners
whispering clichés in the living room,
slammed the bathroom door
and cried for Jonathan
now man of the house.