In a hospital room
I stand next to your son,
watching you drift
in and out of consciousness.
I give you flowers,
their stems clipped.
You drop them in a pan
of shallow water.
Outside, I can see the bus station
near the last stop on the subway line.
Remember when you moved to Mount Airy,
on the second floor? We talked all night
about politics. Then Watergate broke, and
you foresaw that Nixon would fall.
You always drove me home
pounding your palms on the steering wheel.
Kamal takes a napkin and wipes your mouth—
“Are you hungry Mom, do you want a drink?”—
while I keep asking if you know my name.
You raise yourself and say it once,
just before you fall back.
Since 1990, Robert Coles has published over one hundred poems in various literary journals, anthologies, and magazines. His most recent poems have appeared in Peregrine (Spring 2017), Mudfish (vol. 20, 2018/vol. 21, 2020/vol. 22, 2021), and Cura Magazine (Fordham University, Spring 2019).