for my father, A. Gordon Sidman Jr.

so it is better to speak
We were never meant to survive.

Audre Loudre

In the intensive care unit,
between your short,
shallow breaths,
you reminded me how,
when I was a child,
my friends called mother
Mrs. Cinnamon instead
Of Mrs. Sidman, our family name.
Why did you think of this
just then, seasoned
with a coppice of needles,
lying white in your flavorless bed?
And why, that evening
re-entering the hospital
as the sun anointed the sky red
did I call out Cinnamon,
as if making an offering
as the day shifted
from evening
to night and your death
the next day?