These days, what comes from your mouth
often surprises. This afternoon I am
reading to you the biography
of Teddy Roosevelt, condensed
by Reader’s Digest, yet expanded,
too, the large print banking off the light,
the pages glaring. My voice
keeps coming out hard, loud,
almost falling against itself.
I continue. I explain.
As though your childhood had come after
mine, as though the light
in this room had bounced
off plastic liners and catheters.
I am angry how age is romanticized.
Angry that people don’t talk
about incontinence or skin
that erases itself from
the constant weight of the body.
You are in bed, but I ask,
this third time, if you want to get up.
You’re satisfied to know
you’re already there, again.
It’s some time later when you crook a finger.
You ask me to come closer. You whisper,
You could kill me in my sleep.