Route 7 Review - Page 41

My Last Birthday with Dad BY Ashley Harrison We curl up in hard chairs as Dad breathes because the machine tells him to The darkness under Mom’s eyes never changes Not even when she crashes on the floor of an unused conference room down the hall and tells us to watch the door Some say, “Sorry” “Everything happens for a reason” “It’s God’s will” “I know how you feel” I only hear things like, “Hemorrhaging” “Four strokes in the brain” “Can you see me?” “No” Mom holds his hand so gently She bites her lips while my little brother sings about gulls calling across the sea to come home Random brush strokes cover the walls I guess they count as paintings I never knew that antiseptic reeked so bad Another family gathers in the waiting room outside Their grandfather dropped with a heart attack He’s old, decrepit, useless He gets to say goodbye Dad just gets to have the plug pulled