You are on the other side of the world
again for your father. You pass
street vendors, taxis, loose children
to reach the hospital for the slowly
dying. Your father looks worse than he did
last time. Then again, you, too,
look worse than you did last time.
You are shrinking. You are a rounded,
cold-strewn slug, curling into a shell.
You don’t fight white hairs. Fifty years
and sun has risen ripe and brown
on your temples. You have not yet
come to terms with the word
“orphan”. Your father hardly remembers
your face, but your face has changed so much
since the last he saw you that
neither do you. So you stopped eating.
So you stopped praying. So you stopped.
When you come back in two weeks,
your daughter will pretend not to notice
how already, you are so much older.
Claire S. Lee is a student at Canyon Crest Academy. Her writing has been recognized by Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Ringling College of Art and Design, and the National Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and can be found or is forthcoming in Inklette, A-Minor Magazine, Noble/Gas Qtrly, Rising Phoenix Review, Blue Marble Review, and *82 Review, among others. She is the Co-Editor-in-Chief of COUNTERCLOCK Journal and a prose reader for The Blueshift Journal.