Poem to My Father’s Ventilator Or Seeing a Wolf in Captivity

by Aaron Reeder

Someone put you in the room last week.

I like to think you have friends that miss you,
who have saved a portion of last week’s skunk
for when their toothy friend returns.

Despite what everyone says, you are lovable
and I still believe you can be domesticated.

But I promise, I am not getting attached. Honestly,
I’ve thought about how I will say goodbye.

Until then, I show up to observe you: today you are
rolling on your back in the lilies that have wilted
in my father’s lungs. How excited you seem to be.

I wonder if you ever look at what’s before you
and think, I can make do with this. It’s not ideal,
and if I had my way, there would be a little more water.

As if there were no more sweetness in words,
I’ve turned to howling at you,
a pathetic show of gratitude. And then I started
to make a lair in the sunlight pouring through the window,
littering the floor with the bones.