Your gown, little more than an oversized rag,
is hanging by its fingers. Why do they even
bother with the buttons and ties? I see more
of your naked body than I ever wanted to.
Below the knee, your right leg is a map
of waterways: inlets and estuaries
of varicose veins. Your left foot, ash-
black and dangling, just failing to reach the ground.
You begin to fall backward but my right
arm hooks under yours as my left catches
your back. Your ancient skin, a purple
and brown archipelago of bruises and liver spots,
smooth, so different from your calloused handshake.
I bring you upright and help you these last, painful inches.
Your hands fumble under your gown and our eyes
lock in to each other, in silent agreement. Your head
rolls back and I realize your lower jaw hasn’t
been jutting out this whole time, you just don’t have
any upper teeth. I had no idea.
The echo of water hitting plastic is lost
in your painful roar. A nurse tells you to keep
it down but we tell him to go fuck himself.
A bottle with an inch and a half of brown liquid
appears from under your gown and you place it
next to my iced tea.
I think back to my morning piss, standing
half asleep over the toilet, trying to remember
if there are still eggs in the fridge, wondering how
I’ll make the time to come see you.
I take your legs in my right arm, the two of us
forming an awkward Pieta
and I swing them back into your bed.