Uncle Wally is called to the hospital
but arrives a minute late.
The body, though warm, is twisted and shrunk,
foam still drying around the mouth, eyes rolled back.
The grieving wife weeps by the bedside,
the daughter in the hall, stupid with loss.
Uncle Wally hurries in to comfort the weeping women,
taking their hands in his. Then he turns around,
and leaning his belly against the rail,
makes the sign of the cross
in the fetid air above the dead man’s head.
Uncle Wally raises himself up.
Uncle Wally gazes on the face of death:
the plastered hair, the marbled eyes.
How sad he feels!