Michael Taylor is an MD/MBA student in the Class of 2020 at the University of Alberta
The whistle of far windy notes, painting the halls as if afloat.
Seat firm and wide, I lean to hear: each breath — one, two — becomes less clear.
Your room is grim, ravaged by age; matte-paint preserved… thrives in this cage.
My empty stare — toward the cracks, while blankets rise with lacking gasps.
I listen to the stories made — within these walls — they fill this space.
The beeps, each tear, the fallen cries; I slowly numb, no thoughts survive.
Our past, which you do not recall… I wish, some glimpse, you knew at all.
I try to grasp what brought you here, to understand your distant fears…
Peruse your face — compare to mine — read wrinkles soaked with sands of time.
I reach to touch your throbbing neck — half-wrap my palm, eyes closed — to check.
Feel every crest blend into valleys; your heart beats slow as it does rally.
Still calm, at peace, silent, and cold; shackled with sick — excessive toll.
Nostalgia stout, I yearn to find: the stories that you’ve left behind.
I scheme to write, perform our dreams — those weak days few, and far between.
I wander through the beaten paths: of memories lost — guarded by laths.
Garner each (the lessons plenty): the untruths told… I listen gently…
I foster thoughts of versions old, of versions lost, of stories bold.
With time, I cite the plots between: the person whom I could have been.
I wait for differences to peak, as you lay there and I may speak.
These thoughts, which push your soul from mine — they all but quash our bond, divine.
Mimicked souls — you and I — we dream the same blue-tainted sky.
Cast from cloths woven together… we reach the ground like mirrored feathers.
We stumble through our fathomed woes; yet, near the end we match our foes.
I think of you as part of me; once twined as one, now far you be…
I learn from this — the pain you cause… now search these walls for simple pause.
Grown far from tainted tears I’ve cried, when anger flowed from deep inside.
I hated you for what you left — for leaving me inside this cleft.
So many threads now left untied; you’ve pushed me to adjust and thrive.
I rise to expectations fraught, to tie the ends with limber knots.
The man I choose to break and be…the man I wish that you could see.
When all is said — completely gone, my own two feet I’ll stand upon.
“Make me proud,” you said to me, as death became a certainty…
But lies were what they came to be, as death escaped so carelessly.
Outsiders flocked to see you through; then months drew by without one clue.
Faint hopes that you will resurrect — became deceit, in retrospect.
I wished that you would simply die; my complex hopes drove me to cry.
A heartless man I may not be; yet, callous soul you cannot see.
I hate you for the blame I lay — on you — without a thought or say.
It’s no one’s fault you live on, silent; this illness crude, brazen, and violent.
I cannot fight this one for you — dear Da, hear me? I’m here for you…
My little one is sixteen months; my heart — it swells each time he jumps.
His nose is small; some say ‘petit’ — it curves like yours... I say repeat.
I named him John (you would have loathed); grandson like Da, he soon will know.
I keep him framed, right here with me… in case you wake to lastly see.
The boy who is, the man he’ll be; his father, who wed happily.
I miss you more than sons should bear… as I may leave while you halt there.
This room is grim, and yes, a cage, but comfort creeps in subtle waves.
Your hand in mind — I will not leave, ‘til bitter ends force my belief…
Dear Da, I hope you soon will hear: the laughing song of sunlight’s cheer.
You’re far from home, so surely true; but, love is close — I’m here with you…