Hour thirteen

heart attack, the words
whispered from ear to ear
sounded horrible, cruel
condescending
all i wanted was to rush
into the room
where my father
lay hooked up
and hold him
close, tell him
he was safe
they were allowing
no one in
not even ma
why? did they know
about the fight
about the cruel words
did they know that
children’s hearts
flutter in fear
at such times
my heart is fluttering now
am I getting attacked too
by my own heart
I stand to call ma
but words don’t
leave my throat
I drop to the floor
many hands help me
moments later
or have hours
gone by
my eyes blink open
to see
both my parents
hover over me
what? i gasp
dada, how did you
what happened to me?
did i have a heart attack too?

dada smiles at me
ma does the same
their expression is
of genuine care
my surprise must have registered
it’s alright, dada says
we’re good, i’m good
you’re good
i didn’t have a heart attack
it was stress
and you didn’t have one either
you’d gone hungry too long
i sat up smelling something good
a tray with delicious soup
lay nearby
dada signaled to the nurse
and soon i was tucking in
relief trickles down my back
in gentle waves
all’s well that ends well

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