He ran behind my wobbly bike
and held my tiny newborn children
in his big, work-worn hands
Now he wobbles as he makes his way through the house
his work-worn hands clutching his walker,
his legs trembling.
He was there when I said my first word – “Bird” – and
listened proudly as I listed the words my children
Now he frowns as his mind chases his own words,
slippery and elusive.
I used to sleep on his chest, just like
my children slept on mine; nestled snugly under
Now he sleeps more hours of the day than he’s awake
and we listen to make sure he’s still breathing.
We are a paper chain, we three generations
and I’m in the middle, each hand
one older, one younger
Knowing that soon, the chain will break
and hoping with all my heart
it’s not today.
Carla Carlton is the editor of the Bellarmine Magazine.