Strong Men Cry
when their fathers die, 'as they should' my mother says.

A machine pumps dark blood
the color of indigo tainted black
out a tube in his nose, while he cries,
"God, please let me die.".

A starchy nurse measures it
in pints once every hour.
Finally, his son utilizes
'Power of Attorney.'

Still the indigo blood pumps
through a night and day.
A nurse, gentle as cotton candy,
touches him and prays.

Scars ripple across his parchment skin
like ridged scales on a reptile's back.
His gaunt hollows catch my tears
in small salt water ponds.

His son never leaves his side,
clinging to his clenched fist,
stroking his sparse silver locks.,
never allowing a tear to drop.

Towards dusk, we circle the bed
and pray he will find the LIGHT.
Tension leaves his rigid body the moment
he sees the white hot flash, the halo of it..

Then we release our hold on him,
turn to hold each other.
I hold a strong man in my arms
while we both sob and cry.

Love, Jody

Second Place Award, Religious Theme Poetry
Iowa State Convention
of the
League of American Pen Women, 2002