April 19, 2009

Marco A. Domínguez

THE EDGE
        for Dennis Covington

I never talk of the last time
I saw my grandfather
in a hospital bed, waiting
to die with lines of staples
crossing his stomach.

Most days I wish to forget
the edges of those staples
gripping his skin together
and closing the gaps
where blood and shit leaked
as my father’s hands pressed
the skin I tried to clean
with q-tips and baby wipes.

But it’s something in my friend’s
story, the way he tells me
how much he loves his daughter
that he has to keep away
the memory of killing
a doe on the highway
with a blunt pocket knife,
that I share with him
my grandfather’s death.

It’s how he explains the sweat
getting in his eyes as he sawed
at the doe’s neck, knowing
his daughter was asleep
in the car. Later, he would tell her
nothing of the deer and say
that the stop was just to piss.

I wish I was his daughter
asleep as my father cleaned
death off road or blood
from thirty staples
on his father’s stomach.
But I was there, awake
and trying to keep the skin
clean, trying to forget.

from Rattle #27, Summer 2007