Wondering What His Questions Are

 kid with cancerThere is a depth of patience
That you sometimes see
In someone who is dying,
Who knows they aren’t going
To be leaving this hospital,
This room…. This bed—
At least not in this lifetime.
 
I’ve shared the room with him
For five days, but soon
I’ll be leaving and he’ll be staying.
Soon I’ll be running outside on wet grass,
Taking life for granted.
 
There’s an awkwardness I feel—
Not sure what to say,
But I notice that he wakes early,
Stares silently at the sunrise,
Holds a flower in his hands,
Turning it around and around,
Inhaling the fragrance,
Allowing its petals to tenderly touch
His bald head, where hair no longer grows.
 
He’s only a boy of twelve,
Which makes me wonder of all
He will never know, times of awkward
Kissing, sex, bliss, withdrawal, but he’s
Learning so much already about loss.
He could teach a class in grad school
About pain and heartbreak, just by showing up,
His thin legs, pallor of skin as white as bone.
 
I lay here wondering what his questions are.
As for myself, I’m asking God
Why there aren’t more miracles to go around.
I can’t see the beauty or hear the music in this.
Please God, let his parents shout to heaven…..
Don’t let them bend the knee and swallow
Hopeless rage night after empty night.
Prayers don’t always come with a reply.
But I do see bald bravery here—
This twelve year old boy is teaching me that.
Can I drop a penny down a wishing well?
 
Strange thoughts float into mind—
Wondering if the next time I have sex
If in that moment of little death when
Breath leaves and peace floods the space
With involuntary urgency as toes curl…
Will Jayden be there in my thoughts?
 
Do you believe in angels?
Do you think God’s hands are there to catch you?
The day I left, Jayden pulled a feather from his pillow,
Gave it to me, “this feather’s for you….”
Now I wonder if he pulled it from his wings.
Please, don’t run with scissors, not through wet grass,
Dew lingering before the burning sun.

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