New Year’s Day

New Year’s Day

My name is Edward Andrew, and I’m six years old.

You lie in the wheeled bed, puffy and pale
Riding the waves of morphine
(or is it Bartlett Lake?)
I help the illusion along.

Howdy howdy there, friends and neighbors!
This is El Monte Slim f’m El Monte Slim Chev’rlet …

A cough chokes you back awake,
Fear and confusion cloud your eyes
No, don’t speak; I point to the tube
You say goodbye with your eyes.

… I wait for delivery each day until three,
Oh Lord, woncha buy me a color TV?

A simple flick of the switch and my decision is final.
A few shuddering, spasmodic breaths and it is done.
You expire at my side, hand in my hand, my
Tears exposed in the glare of my own inadequacy.

See ya at the beach, Bro.

— Stace Johnson, 1997