He's a small man

walks small, speaks small,

lisping

every odd word with his tongue caught on

his teeth.

...
He keeps his shoulders hunched,

says little at dinner:

"The weather's nice,"

when asked, or,

"You're welcome,"

to be polite.

...

He's in three pictures, one from

Christmas, 2004.

One from Thanksgiving, two years

past,

when he very quietly

fits nine pounds of pie

into one stomach.

He feels bad afterward,

but I laugh.

...
The last picture, an accident:

Trying to smile,

I walk in to see him,

where the bed seems to swallow

his shrunken body,

what's left of it.

My finger bumps a button.

I fumble at the camera's

flash.

The nurse shoves me out

before I can apologize.

...
He never sees me

or the third picture.

I don't get a fourth

because

too fast,

that summer's stone

with his name in heavy letters

already fading

from the rain

stares me in the face.

In the ground, he says more

than he ever did

to me.