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 him instead:
Where are you now, my Father, my friend?
Are you an elder in opiate dreams,
with prayers like ghosts hovering 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?