you lie on the couch and mumble
that the tree’s leaning to the left
as we jam it in the stand.
until he steps back and informs us of this fact
as if you’d never said a word.
leaving melting footprints on the rug.
and also abandons the scene.
the euphemism, immediately.
You should never have been discharged without a plan.
and let you direct the routine.
while storms swept through like grim adolescent moods,
sleet, hail, snow, rain, and random days of clarity.
Now you sit there, watch movies, and wheeze.
although I put no stock in Christ.
screaming of hell and slavery,
swinging wildly at nurses and orderlies…
with its blinking red and white lights.
and you know I don’t mean the tree.
Dad grunting as he shovels snow.
and it’s kind of hard to surrender to the weather.”
where reindeer graze on a neighbor’s lawn.
so I darken the room and doubtfully listen to you breathe.