my father dies quickly on the other side of the country
i buy a plane ticket, buy a face sheild, buy a pack of cigarettes 

my father dies slowly ten miles from here 
my friends sing loudly, hold closely, pour generously 

my father dies as soon as he looses the ability to tell us, 
we patiently wait for the rest of him to catch up

it all takes ten days 
from first to last hospital call, and
i spend february’s reamining 18 days 
in a bassinet of sunburned and age spotted arms; 
grateful for the love that always shows up 
to wrap around me.