By James Mulhern
The word of the day is copacetic.
I see my brother and me packing suitcases for our trip.
In the frame of the doorway my father stands.
“Everything copacetic?” he says.
One time I asked him where he learned that word.
“As a Marine,” and he told me about his service in the Korean War.
“It was tough,” he said.
In the end, I visited him at the hospital.
“Have some Jell-O.” I held a spoon with a wobble of red before his face.
“Don’t want it.”
“You’ve got to eat, Dad.”
“I’m not hungry.” He pushed it away.
I sat by him from morning until shadows crossed his face.
Mostly he slept. Sometimes he asked what time it was.
I left at nine. The nurse called.
“Your father’s agitated. He wants to leave. Talking about a trip.”
“I’ll be there soon.”
I stand in the doorway of his hospital room. He’s at the window,
wearing the blue bathrobe my sister gave him.
“It brings out your eyes,” she told him.
“Everything copacetic?” I say.
He turns and looks.
“It was tough,” he says.
I guide him to the bed and sleep in the chair beside him.
When I wake, I find that he has gone.