It Was Not the Double Shifts

hanging from the Pit River bridge; he liked heights.

It was not the hours huddled over drinks at the nearest bar.

Nor was it the asbestos blankets that shrouded his lungs.

And yet, his grin is easy, as if his days were blithe, fortune set.

When he’d hoist me onto his shoulders, I leaned like a figurehead, charging the clouds.

But he’s outlived the battery of work and play and now looks ready.

Yes, he still revs up for a story, arthritic fingers conducting the punchline.

When he’s alone, reclined, slips of breath, even with oxygen, grow faint.

He imagines himself not lying in state, but dangling

over water, watching.

Image: Photo by Russell Lee, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.