we hear the soft clock
of intensive care: Alarms sound.
IV dispensers click.
Pressure cuffs inflate
every ten minutes with a low hum,
and an aide in a narrow cell
peers at banks of monitors to cull among
arrhythmias and breaths, to pick
the one that signals a turn for better or for worse.
Soon even these murmurs rest.
Then a guitar player strums
a few notes, old folk tunes and blues,
rhythmically humming or singing
to a man with no hair. Motionless,
we harmonize such little music
as we can, feeling lucky for your change of heart.
Your daughter calls. The guitar player pulls
his leather coat over red shirt and vest,
releases us from the ICU as he steps away;
while outside an autumn sun slowly falls
behind the golden ridge to twilight.
(Photo Credit: “Solo Guitar, Guitar Player,” image by Tongrajantaduang, courtesy of FreeDigitalImages.net)