I slept against his chest,
rocking to the ba dum, thump of his heart.
It is erratic on the monitors,
I am scared to hold his hand, but he reaches
for me, I am reaching out.
I sleep against his chest
naked in imitation of that innocence
stolen like our idealised childhood.
I reach for him, desperately
and I find proof that life goes on,
but why does this matter?
I sit with him,
my other only man reading in the halls.
His skin is flushed,
we tell the nurses this is not fever,
and I wonder when sweat became his norm.
He entertains from his bed,
the hospital gown sagging around the tubes,
the tape ripping his bear chest bare.
He forces his eyelids apart,
and we pray for him to permit sleep.
He sits upright,
he finishes a meal,
he washes himself.
He is reborn into a body sustained by pills,
and we recover ourselves in welcome.
He can only be lost once,
this merely our first dress rehearsal.