Elegy, with a Glimpse of My Father in the Bathroom

It is evening, and he steps into that green-
tiled cell and turns the light switch on. 

In my unfinished house next door, from where 
I stand at the second floor window, I can see

the toothbrush holder, the top of the covered plastic bin 
for collecting water. How he bends his head over the sink 

as he coughs, then brings a square of toilet paper to his mouth. 
In their room, out of sight, my mother presses a cool cloth 

over her eyes. One bird beats its wings against the roof, looking
for those that have fled. It is just months before the earth 

under our feet trembles, bringing down the world we knew;
months before we dress him in his best suit, lay him out 

on the bed. It takes three days before we can get a coffin, 
and flies to lead rescuers to bodies pinned under the rubble.

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