Your Last Words
were in winter
and led up to all that week
when I ran round
a week short of nineteen
looking after you and mom and
all of you as if dying, like late flies.
You turned round to me,
you who never talked about anything
and said 'There is a God you know'.
I was God-smacked,
two days later
you went out
(on the bus, to pay the gas bill I remember, I wanted
to go instead, but you said
'No, son, you've done enough, I'll
And you came back,
after four heart attacks, so the coroner told me,
on the bus back
and I said to you, you don't look well,
I'll call the doctor. And you said
the singular, that was 'No'.
And I looked back down to the Penguin
'Essential James Joyce'
as you dropped down into the death-rattle
and its gale blew me to the phone up the street.