On the way to the Colonoscopy he says,
“They’re not going to find anything
I can’t outrun before I’m dead
of old age anyway.”
He has started the counting in earnest:
My last car, my last driver’s license photo,
my last census, the last probe up my ass.
He could outlive all of it. Or not.
For now, we are going to the place
where they will scan his walls.
Threats and lesions, cracks and gaps,
places where the devil breaks in.
My father was once a state champ swimmer.
I remember those shoulders from when
I was a very young boy. I would ride on
the saddle space of his back in the community
pool down by the beach in our small coastal town.
The long lane lines seemed to stretch out forever.
I ease his car into empty parking stripes
alongside the low-slung clinic building
listen to him talk of the future
the tentative certainties that have
at heart nothing certain about them.
I’m reminded of the things I’d thought
as a kid about Columbus, and the other
famous sea explorers. How amazing to be
the first to find out, to see
where the ocean ends, where it is
that can’t be seen, to finally know
for sure what is there.
I can still see the illustration in the school
book from years ago, the earth a large,
flat-edged box and the water
breaking, hard, in a ninety
degree angle and falling.
Falling into nothing.
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