My Brother's Voice
The voice is far away, muffled, as he breathes behind a mask--
he is in the small town hospital.
Locals say you go there to die.
Then his voice disappears as I call up. The nurse tells me
he might need surgery for a stomach blockage.
I wash my clothes, scrub the bathroom sink,
The nurse’s voice tells me
he’s helicoptered to the Redding hospital.
Now voices in ICU tell me he has pneumonia.
Where’s the brother’s voice? I need to speak to my brother
That terrible Monday I had to go to jury duty and the interviewer
wouldn't let me go half-day;
the repairmen put furnaces in my mother’s house.
My brother’s voice is gone that Monday—
His voice on Tuesday weakly saying, Come up Thursday.
I say, I can’t until after giving my three finals.
Come up Thursday evening, his voice says
I’ll be there Saturday.
It’s small triumphs now—he’s out of ICU.
His voice a tiny bit stronger.