My father is a beach shell
almost emptied of life matter,
skin pale without the glow of nacre
that fakes a shell’s life force.
his cheeks are knobs,
his flesh having fallen away,
his appetite lost with his sense of smell.
Thin skinned is literal for him now,
his bruises a map of bumps
against doors, tables, chairs—
his wheelchair too big, his rooms too small.
Hearing aid batteries
make a mine field of the floor,
the dexterity for insertion
now beyond his motor skills.
are childhood games of gossip:
We write fiction
every time we talk.