10-Line Tuesday

July 19, 2011

Three days before he died, my uncle – unable to speak -
pantomimed a series of instructions from the small incline
of his hospital bed. By then, I knew the outcome would be bleak,
but his hand gestures dictated otherwise, wild swings of his fingers a sign
for something, except I could not guess what. I tried to imagine what he might
be needing, or what he wanted – with such ferocity - to tell me.
The language between us felt impossible, as it always did. I couldn’t get it right,
and neither – I suppose – can any of us. Still, we kept at it until at last we
leaned back into silence, exhausted. And here a single word found its way
among the tubes and antiseptics and years of misinterpreting: Stay.