Waiting Beside My Father by Andrea Potos

WAITING BESIDE MY FATHER

In the ICU room, ten days
where he coma-slept, arranged by the doctor
to rest his brain after the fall,
I sat beside him. I remember wearing
my slate-blue jacket with the big ruffle
at the collar, its cotton soft and somehow
reassuring on my body as I watched
the nurses glide by in the gleaming hallways,
and the kind hospitalist arrived with a lift
of hope in his voice. Inside me, I felt a small, carved
chapel of patience I didn’t know I possessed.
I closed my eyes, apologized to my father
for years of crabbiness between us.
I felt his brain smoothing out its frenzy, as if floating
on a long journey, as if a river
was carrying us, though
I had never learned to swim.

*

Andrea Potos is the author of several poetry collections, including Marrow of Summer and Mothershell, both from Kelsay Books; and A Stone to Carry Home from Salmon Poetry. A new collection entitled Her Joy Becomes is forthcoming from Fernwood Press this November. Recent poems appear in The Sun, Poetry East, and Lyric. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.