Carol Graser

On the 6th Floor at the VA Medical Center

Finally disarmed, my father curled 
in his hospital gown, a large, stiff 
fetus facing north. His left hand 
would, almost in a rhythm, brush 
his face. I pressed the button
on his bed to find his weight
to mark time: 164.3, 162, 159
I rubbed his back but he rocked 
away, he wanted no distractions

What eddy was swirling him
What boat carried him 
those last miles? Was he 
commanded to lay down 
his arms? Did he volunteer
empty solemnly his pockets
and socks, pull the grenades
out of his mouth, drop them 
with relief into the deep, black sand

I sat by a window that overlooked 
a dull stretch of Syracuse and watched 
his mammalian exit. I cried.  There was 
no one in that wide hushed room 
to order me to stop.

Carol Graser
lives in the Adirondacks of upstate New York and hosts a monthly poetry series at Saratoga Spring’s legendary Caffe Lena on the first Wednesday of every month. She has performed her work at various events and venues around NYS. Her work has been published in many literary journals, recently in Devilfish Review, Punch Drunk Press, Trailer Park Quarterly and Minute Magazine. She is the author of the poetry collection, The Wild Twist of Their Stems (Foothills Publishing).