an occasional gurgle or grunt --
quiet hints of pain and confusion, perhaps.
He is five. Looks like two, maybe three.
His mother and nurse are patient and present caregivers,
swapping seats, giving medicine, taking turns.
He sits in a car seat, his head leaning and lolling,
a tracheotomy and a catheter hint at the needs of his life,
his body far smaller than five, turned and ungrown.
About every five minutes, his mother or the nurse
must suction the mucous from his throat,
then rest and begin again.
He can't speak, his eyes are cloudy. What does his brain perceive?
He needs constant care.
This will be his life, and theirs, forever, I suppose.
For his life, I pray,
and for his mother and his nurse,
and, selfishly, for me.
God, give me patience and gratitude.
For my children, and for their health, I pray:
For this child: peace.
For my fellow travelers: contentment.
For this nurse and this mother: admiration.