I see you in miniature
on my phone’s screen,
as if someone had caught you
asleep, head tilted back,
lips parted, white facial hair
reminding me of the underbrush
of the rose bushes we tended
when I was a child

the fine creases of skin
on your shoulders
are like the water
on the canal you took us to fish,
baiting our hooks—
although hurting even worms
bothered you, you did it for us

I can hear the tone of your voice
instructing us to pull weeds,
that mumble on your breath
as you dozed off midday on the couch.

This virus…
how alone you must have felt,
unable to hear the muffled voices
through face masks and shields,
hearing aids abandoned
in the rush from home.

I study this image—
earlobes scratched raw
from the strap of the oxygen mask,
lips thinned and pale,
plastic tubing still taped to your nose—

and know I will keep it
as you pass to bone and dust
in the earth’s clay bed,
tubing unfurling like a wildflower
around your slumbering head.

Page 348

Authors:

Harrison Bae Wein

Harrison Bae Wein, PhD, received his degree in molecular and cell biology. Soon afterward, he left the lab to become a health and science writer. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and many other outlets. He now works at the National Institutes of Health where he founded and edits two publications. His fiction and poetry has appeared in several literary journals, most recently in ONE ART. You can contact him at hbw@HarrisonWein.com.

How to Cite This:

Wein, H. B. (2022). Photo from the funeral home [poem]. Clio’s Psyche, 28(3), 348-349.

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