despite the expectation

By Jeffrey Alfier
By Jeffrey Alfier

By Steven Hendrix

I remember exactly where
I was that day
when you called to tell me
he was gone
suddenly despite the expectation

you told me how you rubbed
his arm, spoke to him
believing he could hear
how you were holding his hand
when the alarms went off
and the shock and fear
drove you mindlessly
into the hall to search for a nurse
how when they came back
with you the doctor pronounced
him dead, and that was it

you were the last one
to see him alive
you were all alone
in that hospital room
waiting for your grandmother
to arrive, worried about how
to share the news
I could hear the tremors
in your voice still

the words I said that day
did nothing to ease your pain
or sense of loss
but they were all I had to give
from the distance beyond touch
and I gave them, for once,
without self-regard
without the expectation
of something in return

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