What Happens Next? You Asked Me That Night

As I knelt by your head, held your long fingers

and dripped the morphine under your tongue.

When you are ready, follow the light.

But later I wished I had asked you instead:

Where are you now, my Father, my friend? 


Are you an elder in opiate dreams,

while prayers like ghosts hover over your bed?


Are you a boy, a galaxy of questions,

beseeching an angel there at the station:

Mother, where is our train headed next?


Are you a husband at home—engineer/


divider-of-pills/seeker/a human, one who

can’t solve her disease Rubik’s Cube?


Are you a youth in Paradise, PA,

do you wander alone ‘neath a trestle

questioning life and what school is next,

skipping grades like stones in a stream?


Or are you/were you stepping off of

the last train to Paradise? Yes? I actually

prayed you were already there, liquid-eyed,

feet full of wind, and straight as a mast.

What happens next? you questioned the

after-life, ready to sail.

Tell me, what’s next?





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