some things wont be stopped

a man came in the door
to see a doctor about his breathing

his hands were wrinkled and tanned
i imagined them patting the head of a good dog

Advertisement

his wife wandered the house while he was here
confused
because he’s not there

she set the table for two
and then four and then ten

i took the man’s history, asked him what his allergies were

she took off the sheets from their bed
because she supposed
she left him there

the man coughed violently, i put oxygen under his nose

she cried
and moved the dresser in front of the window

the doctor wanted the man to stay
pneumonia had settled in his frail lungs

she hid in the closet
tasted her salty tears
held his scratchy flannel shirt to her cheek

the man smiled at me, patted my hand
he must go
he must go home to his wife
she is alone
she does not like to be alone

he took small steps to the door
he paused to cough
this i cannot stop

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
mary jane mantzke
6 years 6 months ago
Very moving....Thank you for sharing!

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Supporters of opposition presidential candidate Salvador Nasralla clash with military police in the Policarpo Paz Garcia neighborhood of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, on Jan. 20, 2018. Following a disputed election marred by irregularities, incumbent President Juan Orlando Hernandez was declared the victor and will be inaugurated on Jan. 27. The opposition does not recognize Hernandez's victory and are protesting against the result. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)
“You will see many protests during his mandate...because Honduras hasn’t fixed its age-old problems of inequality, exclusion, poor educational and health system, corruption and impunity.”
Melissa VidaJanuary 23, 2018
I want to be able to serve the state better. I want to be able to serve more of the state.
Nathan SchneiderJanuary 23, 2018
Formed in 2011, The Oh Hellos' Christianity is one of their foundational inspirations, evident in lines like "the only God I should have loved."
Colleen DulleJanuary 23, 2018
People gather at a June 14 candlelight vigil in Manila, Philippines, in memory of the victims of the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla. Philippine Catholic bishops called for vigilance against bullying, ostracism and harassment of gay people in the wake of the incident in which police said a lone gunman killed 49 people early June 12 at the club. (CNS photo/Mark R. Cristino, EPA)
“We are losing three generations of people, and we need to hear why,” said Bishop Mark O’Connell.
Michael J. O’LoughlinJanuary 23, 2018