Justin Carter


Standing in front
          of the mirrored glass,
my grandfather whispers prayers

that rise up,
make contact with
    some plane
    or star

& fall back to earth.

Then it is 2003 & he is no longer standing,

the wheelchair carries him into
the retirement home.


My grandfather

sits in the lounge
& stares at the wall.

What are you doing,
            the nurse asks

as she crushes pills into water.

Watching the Cowboys game,
            he says,
the blankness of the wall
shouting in his face.

Or that is what they say.

I didn’t see anything. 


If we lose this game
            my grandfather says,
I’ll die.

The nurse looks at him
& continues to crush pills.

Do you want to know the score,
            he says behind a hollow cough.


Then it’s the funeral
& nothing is said.
The moon hides behind the sky.


When we sleep,
everyone is alive.


The nurse finishes crushing pills.

It is Spring, then Winter.

We are placing flowers
on concrete,
            watching the clouds
& the moon,

the jet planes darting across,
slicing everything in half.

Then we are asleep again.
Dallas has tied the game
            & is setting up a field goal.