in the still of the night
comes a rattle and hum
there’s nothing in here moving
it’s just the sound of my father’s lungs

eight years old
in the front seat of the cutlass
my mom is telling me
about how casey’s car crashed
and he’ll never get to laugh that laugh
again for anyone
i can hardly hear her words
over the sound of my father’s lungs

my hands on your hips
as you hum
your heat hangs heavy
over my lips and my tongue
and when you cry my name
your skin flashes hot like the breath of the sun
and from the back of your throat
comes an echo of my father’s lungs

last night i dreamt we had a catch
like we did when i was young
but this morning, he can barely grip a ball
his hands just aren’t that strong
and i know it might be soon
and it surely won’t be long
until there’s no more sound
no more sound in my father’s lungs

you’re new to this world
you’ve seen nothing but love
sleeping soundly, mouth open
as i watch from above
what meaning have you gleaned
from the songs that we’ve sung you?
or do you just hear the sound
the sound of my father’s lungs?

when my time is winding down
and all my work here is done
i know i’ll hear
the bittersweet call of that song
the song of my father’s lungs