for my Father

some of them
named it for you--
the fuzz on my skin--
the boomerangs of jutting pelvic
bones and jagged spine--
the kneaded hands
and scabby knuckles; they assured
you they understood what it was
all about. You watched them coax me
in and strip me of all but a backless
gown--my sitting bones stuck
out and they took away my mirrors--my belts
and cigarettes--the nurses who would keep me alive.
You didn't call me pretty
anymore--and once I saw you looking
at my beating heart--
an infant's fist
pounding below my chest.
Your eyes were wet
from the wind outside
you said--and you lifted me
up to see if I had made
an impression on the bed.
On my fingers
I counted the syllables of everything
you said until you left me--tube feeding
like a great root
into my nose.

--Suzanne L. Gillis