My father never apologized for his patients
nor the house calls he made late at night;
when a patient hurts, he would say,
there is only need. There were days
when he lived in name only,
trapped at the hospital, that diseased cage,
visiting the beneficiaries of his love.
I hadn't seen him in over a week
when he walked through the door once,
ruffled and worn as a bird caught
in a storm. I remember
how the flesh hung from his cheeks
as if sleep had been wrenched
from his face, his jaw slack and lifeless.
He looked at me then collapsed into a chair,
its wide back rising from his shoulders like wings,
a fallen angel, and slept, still as a rock
imbedded in moss. When he finally awoke
hours later, it was his agonized touch upon my back —
one whose realization is loss. I gazed back
at my father beginning the early stages of his death,
sleep still crusted in his eyes,
kneeling to offer up his soul in apology,
waiting for it to be taken the way they said
it would be taken — without condition
or surrender — the wronged would kiss his cheek,
all would be forgiven.
Emilio Iasiello has written two books: a collection of short stories: Why People Do What They Do, and a nonfiction narrative, Chasing the Green. He has also written for the stage and screen and has had numerous works produced in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and London, England. His film credits can be found at IMDB.