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,
his skin, delicate

as the bark of the river birch when the tree
is finished with it. Twice,

while we watch the Reds game
I check for a flutter

in the loose folds of his neck
to be sure

he’s still with us. Awake now,
he tells us once more

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
more water.

I love you, dear.