For My Father

by Ben Ziman-Bright

Dad was yellow, behind his greying beard.

” It’s his liver,” the doctor said, “It’s failing.”

He took it well, the news, because he’d feared

For a while: Dad could feel his body ailing.

It was the drugs that did it, we all reckoned.

The pink and white pills that were fixing him:

Saved from one death and served up to a second.

Now sweat clings to his face, deathly and grim,

As he drifts wordlessly about, almost

Lost, contemplating his end. I can’t seem

To talk to him, this slouching, pale half-ghost;

He doesn’t look like Dad, just some sad dream –

Ghostless machine, a form without a face –

Or something hollow left there in his place.

“It’s good,” he barely rasped, “When a man knows

His time is up, and makes sense of what’s there,

So he can set things right before he goes.”

But that still doesn’t make it fair.