These rainy days bead up then run together
down the windowpane. He’s home now.
No one knows if his frail body will hold out another hour
or whole days. Time is one long, held
breath. I massage his swollen legs with lotion,
as the bark of the river birch when the tree
is finished with it. Twice,
while we watch the Reds game
in the loose folds of his neck
he’s still with us. Awake now,
and then again, something in his tone
as earnest as the rain at the glass,
I love you. You know
I love you.
No, I don’t need
I love you, dear.