The call came

By Audrey Biscotti

The call came at 4.56, I remember because I liked the pattern,
The rest of that day I did not like,
The irony of my ‘born to sleep’ nightshirt hits me as it hits the floor,
The morning more appropriately wore a coat of grey mist,
Headlight pinholes, tunnel the way, as I drove to your end.

We sit,
hold the massive hand of a mass that had guided me to this point,
Some nurse behind me, pats my shoulder in the rhythm of your last breaths,
Each pat pushes you further into the ground,
"Its time for him to rest now, he’s tired, it’s time to sleep."

Inside I shout, "He’s fucking dying, not going to sleep."
Outside I just sit, watching your chest's strange new beat.
Still she pats.
I can hear the chink of tea cups in the next room,
The universal panacea of tea and toast being prepared.

Escaping the ceremony, finding some excuse,
find myself kissing goodbye the eyes that saw me first.
I try and dampen that coo’s lick we share,
I close the mouth that gave me words,
Now you have that look, the litle twisted smile when you were annoyed with me.

The sparkly fingers of a new day try to grab at the edges of the drawn curtains.
Crisp white sheets lay still and tight over your body. My hand slips into your hand.
I touch the ridges on your nails, like mine.
Dad, I need to tell you something.
It was me.

It was me who played chap door run and scared old Mrs. Smith,
It was me, who took the greenhouse tomatoes and just chucked them against the wall,
I made the circle patterns on the dash of the Nissan with the cigarette lighter,
I’m sorry Dad, the plastic just smelled nice.
And Dad, I lied that day you found me sitting alone in the car, you were right I was avoiding going home.

Slim with age and wear, your wedding band slips round and round.
I slip it off and slip it on, it sits neatly in the groove of my ring finger.
Dad, I don't know if you knew but,
I was so lonely and I cried myself to sleep so many nights because of him,
He really hurt me and made me feel small.

The corridor outside is waking up to a day of to and fro.
Waiting for the handle to turn and our stolen moment to be taken away by that cup of tea.
I’m sorry Dad, I was ashamed to tell you and ask for help,
But I need you to know your little gifts and words made all the difference,
Without knowing it you made me brave,

Removing an eyelash from a still warm cheek and blowing it away, I make a wish,
Dad, I want you to know I have found someone new,
I thought I still had plenty time to tell you.
Kissing it, I let your hand go, letting you go,
I turn the ring on my finger, take it off and return it to a hand that caught me whenever I fell.