My father prays for children who aren’t so smart
and emails to let us know we are: too smart
for Jesus—God!—too smart for love.
Ever since the seizure, the cloudy x-ray
clipped to the light box, ever since the surgery
(not as successful as we had hoped),
and the chemo—twenty-one days on,
seven off—he wants:
a wedding, a grandchild,
a second drink—three
fingers of bourbon on ice.
his mother calls from her hospital bed,
thinks she’s in Augusta, that her dog
has run away,
and I want to tell him
that his brain’s a thoughtful organ
to eat itself before time can. But I have
his shoulders—round and tilted to the wind—
his golf ball cheekbones, furrowed brow.
What else? I swear, I feel my own hard tumor
growing slow against my temple. Today, I thought
I was going blind. Tomorrow, I might pray.
But if I say Thank God, I mean Don’t let us die;
if I say I love, I mean Save me.