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ER #6 photo

She lasts another day, maybe two. / He can’t say with any certainty, every moment alone together / becoming its own hour, its own day, / her parents’ visit feeling forever ago now / that no one is here to distract him from his responsibility. / And still, it all happens so matter-of-factly, / his whole self knows somehow she was always meant / to return, to stay, the hospital right as anything / in this broken world where life is gotten / through, where it is not celebrated but endured. / Because he’s still not felt joy / over who’s to come for them, / this child’s life still not guaranteed / though whose is? Not his, not hers, / not anyone’s who takes crossing the street / too cavalierly or who has a body that turns / on itself, as they always do. /                                                                                    

                                                                                                                                                        He thumbs down to Dr. E’s number in his phone / and interrupts her New Year’s Eve party. He hears / revelers in the background, imagines glasses clinking, / trays and trays of appetizers emptied / and filled again. He thanks her for calling in / his wife’s admittance on a holiday and hangs up. / He packs his wife’s bag; he readies himself / for another go-round, another night or two of sleeping alone / that will slip away in an instant as unbearable as its opposite. 

image: Tammy Mercure