Your lungs were little life rafts
that couldn't inflate. Set adrift
you floated from blue room, to blue
room, tethered to a tank. In that terminal
ocean your face took on submersion's ghostly
pallor. Worrying how long you could stay down,
Daddy, I prayed you dead. I'm a sorry daughter
for doing it. And I do not want you gone anymore.
In death I know you better and mistook your absence
for a relief I've yet to reckon. As a child, I believed
the body shut down at night, heart, blood, lungs,
all stopped moving–a body at rest
should rest, I reasoned. Learning the truth, I couldn't trust
my own heart. Mama, sentry of my breath, watched me fall
into uneasy slumber. Even now in darkness I gasp
for air like one deprived. Though pointless,
I pray better for you now, but harder for my disobedient heart.
Have mercy. Have mercy. Have mercy. Have mercy.
Beyond my small window the ocean extends
to the ends of the earth. Have mercy, I just can't see it end.