For My Father

by Elizabeth Laborde


I swallowed you ten years ago.
You in a patientsí bed, a bed
in April, a bed for Veterans,
a bed suspended over Terwilliger
Boulevard -- a road we wrapped
around thirty years ago in a
convertible Rabbit -- a road
to hamburgers and piano lessons,
a road to recitals where
you clapped once a month.

We swirled on that boulevard,
hundreds of feet over Portlandís
belly, wind in your hair in my hair,
scraping curves at the edge
of the white carís reach. I knew
Terwilliger then, its hospital
on the hill, the place you would go
one April afternoon after lying
24 hours supine in a bed, alone.
Fingers frozen. Brain full of stroke.
No way to call. One of your friends

found you that night, ten years ago.
He called from the hospital, said
to come fast before you were gone.


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