at the catholic hospice

my atheist father is tracing lines in the air

they’re shooting at us from the barricades, he says

it’s a half mile away and i felt the bullet fly by my head

the bastards are down from the sierra

che guevara, hijo de puta!

whispers float in from the hallway

followed by a lazy fly

the door slightly ajar

frames a flash of the priest i told to stay away

i watch my father’s hand trail

down to his side near the catheter that snakes

its way down to the rust colored murk

of the waste bag hanging below the bed

caña, he whispers, sugarcane

as the fly lands on his trembling hand

a desiccated death mask has emerged

all sockets and bony cheeks in

stark relief

his eyes a flurry of twitches

as he runs through the sugar cane field

the fly on the wall listens intently

ay, que oscuridad

el comercio esta cerrado

in the darkness that envelops him at midday

business is closed

a half minute later he siphons

another hard breath

the fly heads for cover

behind the blackout blinds

the man next door starts anew

on the cuban national anthem

the sixth time this hour

his voice trails off after the first verse

as his daughter turns up the volume on

one life to live

another man down the hall begs for mercy

then my father says

mama, me quiero bajar

mother, please help me down

the fly bangs repeatedly into the window

in a dizzying drone

“Fail. Fail again. Fail better.”

— Samuel Beckett

About istsfor manity

i'm a truncated word-person looking for an assemblage of extracted teeth in a tent full of mosquitoes (and currently writing a novel without writing a novel word) and pulling nothing but the difficult out of the top hat while the bunny munches grass in the hallway. you might say: i’m thee asynchronous voice over in search of a film....
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