Waiting

I wait for my father’s streetcar
With patience
For I am early
(And I am eight.)
Knowing well that joy
Will light his tiredness,
Swinging down,
Black lunch bucket in hand.
A workman of no importance,
Offered the throne
Of a child’s welcome.

One block past Humbolt
I turn the car around,
(for I am seventeen)
Knowing that at five-thirty-five
Out of the blackness
A green and yellow bus will
kiss this corner of the universe
Lighting the dais onto which
my mother will
Swing down
Carrying her tiredness patiently,
Welcoming an early chance
To lean against cushions.
This the comfort
I am here to provide her.

On the balcony
I wait
With patience
For the moment I will swing down
To congratulate David
My junior black belt
On tonight’s performance,
Knowing well the comfort
I give him
Just by waiting.

Despite my patience
I can no longer
Wait for Benjamin
My armored warrior.
The game has become a battle,
Black taped sticks flying,
Bodies colliding, bones broken,
Blood spilled.
Unwelcome work calls,
Winter roads to pass over,
Belly-sick that as he
Swings down from the yellow bus
Sweaty bag in hand
He will not find his father
There to welcome.

We gather by my father’s bed
Silently
Knowing well and secretly
That his swinging down will be
Welcome
A relief and blessing.

His fears created hardness and darkness
Where softness and light
Were needed.
So we are waiting,
Unable to comfort.

My mother lies patiently
Waiting
To swing down,
Crippled, bent and twisted,
Some organ secretly bleeding.
I wait with her
Silently,
Not knowing what
Word or act would be
Welcome,
Or bring comfort.

 

Through the blackness of the anesthetic,
Light in the corner.
Edith,
My wife who must always do things
Has chosen to contain her energy to
Waiting
Simply.
I welcome her presence,
It brings me
Comfort.

They say they got the cancer
But I realize
That I will just have to do this again
And soon,
this leaves me
In some corner of my being,
Waiting
To swing down.

For it is late,
And I know not where
To find comfort,
Other than in things
I have learned well to do

To wait,
With patience,
And then,
To welcome.