The only magic

The only magic I have ever done…
wasn’t a love potion or turning something into gold. It had nothing to do with bedknobs or carpet bags.
The only magic I have done that matters was at my father’s deathbed.

3am phone voice trembling with a hospice stranger who stopped the dam burst of my fears to ask if I had slept. If I drank water since rising.

Teutonic in my caretaking I tell her I have done the most for him allowed and
– between caught breaths –
she fills in the mourning sounds we make when words fall off the cliff.

Swallowing audibly she tells me:


He is suffering. Give him more.
What are you going to do…kill him?
She waits as my laugh fills with tears that only together save me.

I ask her if I can try THC oil and she tells me it literally cannot hurt him.
And if it helps either of us, then yes.
She reminds me to wear gloves unless I want the most relaxed hands in the multiverse.

In the half hell of his room in the hospital bed he has thrown himself partway free.
I restore his body to the bed.

For the first time in my life I massage my father’s bare chest.
My hands have old training with bodies and as they move my mind launches free.
Out of me tumble legends of the permanence of the soul and the endless opportunity
pressing against the small room like a spring that almost didn’t come.

Thorazine. 2mg. Ativan. 2g. Morphine. 1g. The process that has him is immune
from simple chemistry.

My shaking hands. Cannabinoids. Story.
Peals of bells calling lost pieces of my father back to the frankincense-scorched church of the end of living.

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