Be alright mother
hair as white as a glacier
cool white that forms the hallo
above her bed
where she motions the nurse’s aid:
          I’m awake
          come help me out of bed
          I’m done
          come help me off the toilet

Be alright old woman
her dazed blue eyes
blue as glory of the snow in April
searching me, her only son
          for words she didn’t catch
          from conversations
          we never had, I see
          her thoughts
          like swirling eels

Be alright mom
with your weakened heart
and replaced joints
          from recycled metal
          that could have been
          a girder to a skyscraper
          or a nail to hang
          a picture of Clint Eastwood
                    back when he could
                    put his boots
                    under her bed anytime

Be alright fading parent
I want to see you,
but does it have
to be like this
          with your grown classmate
          nodding off next to you
          in the dayroom
          TV blaring reruns of Gunsmoke
          Miss Kitty’s earrings swinging
          her mole big enough
          to have its own lines

Be alight my friend
I can still see you
cracking hickory nuts
on the back porch
          the chartreuse glow
          of lightening bugs
          blinking in the back yard
          like nimble satellites
                    your cigarette moving about
                    like one red eye
                    between long hisses

Be alright, please
with a life that’s
come down to
a car that sits
in the driveway
calling you like a lonesome lover
          houseplants that wait
          through your recoveries
          to be watered
          stacks of papers,
                    past due notices
                    and pills packed clumsily
                    in their Monday to Friday cases

Be alright, dear God,
long enough to come home
to your EZ chair of creeping cat hair
to sleep in your own bed,
to listen to the tenant
patter overhead:
          until we fall asleep
          and dream of swimming
          in Conesus Lake, our feet hobbled by the stones
          the smell of French fries and vinegar call us to the shore
                    and the sight of wheelchairs
                    and the sentence of hospital beds
                    hold no fear over either of us.