Mornings I lie next to your sleeping 
body, the amputated light grown long 
as my father’s old stethoscope hung 
over a bent nail, half-expecting 
to see, as I did then, vestiges 
of that time when I begged 
Father not to pack the infected tug
of flesh inside my shoulder with bandages.
I learned how bones can betray and sag, 
then freeze into the shape of something 
like an arm. He never could forgive 
himself for falling asleep while driving, 
and so I left him, arm healed, to his grief. 
He did not beg me to stay, and the dogged
persistence of his hammer pounding 
nails into the boards over my door rings
fresh regret into me as I tell you I’m leaving, 
that my arm need not lift across you any longer.
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