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O, high as crazy hell and blasé like rocks was how he seemed to want to play it
there in the hospital with his hands knit loose behind his head
and the one leg lying straight across the other like he was testing a lounge chair
or working on his tan instead of becoming a flashing series of tubes and wires in a bed
and comatose in point of fact in the ICU where the universe gets so mean
it blathers like a baby. Oh just hanging out and peeing off this country porch,
Mom. Just pouring a little juice into this carroty Hardees’s glass on the sun-bleached Formica
the body said in its minute gestures as the nurses stripped it and eyed each other
and counted the numbers and wrote in black ink on white charts
and pinched him to try to wake him and said his name over and over
to try to wake him and called in the priests just in case and diagnosed the smell
which was pneumonia and got the technicians to cart in the machines to get some pictures
and injected him with Penicillin and Percocet and Demerol and Morphine
and all the holy waters and the holy sugars and the very important chemical fats.
But there was something about the bloodline that I saw too in my son
and came here to say before I die—something about my own mother’s faraway gaze
that I could see in the boy’s shut eyes and broken jaw and my own shutdown
and blacked-out old self there too in his wounded and unflappable smashed-up oblivion.
From Bloodline by Adrian Blevins, a chapbook published by Hollyridge Press in 2012.
Reprinted by permission of the author.