Fragments of sky are still visible behind the haze of new leaves. The cattails are shedding; tufts of down drift by. That Sunday silence.



    It’s been some time since I heard that Sunday silence.
    Grandfather saw me tiptoeing away from his chair,
    his eyes half-closed, I suspect now, and he called out
    weakly, but that sounded like thunder to me then.
    Ven aqui, hijo. I had to toddle to his rocking chair,
    having been caught sneaking into the kitchen where
    grandmother grated coconut flesh from its shell.
    He stroked my head, closed his eyes, said nothing.

    One other Sunday, at the hospice, I must have roused
    the bejesus out of the elderly residents when I puled
    like that little boy again, seeing my wan Father in bed,
    a bedpan half-filled with cathethered urine on a chair
    where the harried attendant must have left it absently
    when he prowled for someone to lift this limp man
    up so he could fulfill his sporadic ablutions. Silence.
    He rasped: Go home, you are drunk. Don’t scare us.

    It’s another silent Sunday. I stoop out of bed, look out
    to a fragment of sky beyond the finally sprung leaves,
    and feel like a thousand more years than my sixty-nine.
    Someone from the kitchen said it was my birthday.

    —Albert B. Casuga

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