My father-in-law, in better days

He’s going away

one breath

one touch

one aching whisper

at a time.

He lies there in that hospital bed

aged a dozen years

in only one.

We don’t know him anymore

this weathered shell

this frailness

this lost look in his eyes.

This man

whose strong hands

once reached for grandchildren

snuggled them close

carried them out the door to ride

on his John Deere tractors.

This home-spun inventor

who crafted one-of-a-kind tools

to make his gardening work

a little easier.

He’s going away

and nobody knows how

to say good-bye.

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