Do Not Resuscitate – Contest Runner Up

by Carol Berg

His breath is so fragile now.

I get the call from my sister before I reach
work. I agree with her and we change his code to

DNR. I feel like I’ve give my father death
for breakfast. When I call him on the way home

he says he’s happy to hear my voice and his voice
is strong. Guilt inflates inside my chest.

I tell him about the male turkey I saw crossing the road
in full plumage and he says something about a journey

he’s glad to be back from. He’s been in the nursing home
for years, now. I don’t ask about the journey, but he keeps

on, saying he’d thought he’d see more critters—
no turkeys! no groundhogs! I tell him it’s probably too early

for groundhogs, what else to say? I can feel the air
inside my car getting warmer.  The air getting thinner.

Carol Berg’s poems are forthcoming or in Sou’wester, The Journal, Spillway, Redactions, Zone 3, and elsewhere. Her chapbook, Her Vena Amoris (Red Bird Chapbooks), is available and her chapbooks, Ophelia Unraveling and The Ornithologist Poems are available from Dancing Girl Press. She received a grant from Massachusetts Cultural Council.

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