Receipts

6th of April 95, family in ward one is ecstatic
Voices raised in praise to the almighty
Phone call made by father says,
Daughter, your brother has finally arrived.
Mid deep in conversation describing smile of his son
To the soprano in his daughters voice
Interrupted by the words dangling half hazardly on
On the lips of nurse as she implores
I beg you keep it down sir
family in Ward 3 has just lost their son,
They prefer a moment of peace.

The silence in ward 1 is slowly lifted by the ruffling
Of biodegradable plastic bags and drop of father’s leather wallet on floor
As he searches ever so frivolously for garments of his new born son
Underneath this garden of receipts he has earnestly harvested over these years
He finally picks up the pink one.
They thought he was to be a girl.

After baby is quietly wrapped in swaddling clothes
Father drives to daughter’s school as she may join in this celebration of birth
His subconscious conquers his conscious mind and joins in conversation
With his heartbeat,
Epiphany joins in on red light
Life is but a series of receipts.

He holds his new born son’s birth certificate in one hand
And his bag full of Walmart and Target receipts in the other
Memory says good morning was power bill, phone bill, tax returns and shopping carts filled
With black ink on white paper,
headings and surcharges he has never bothered to read
But always upset at why hst was 13%

Afternoon was a desk and dream drenched in receipts as he prayed for the one
He is not yet brave enough to call wife
Only to be stared down by another receipt that said
McMaster University graduating class of 90
Hanging in naiveté on the walls of his office
Only a reminder that the word Magna Cum Ladae
Is only useful as tongue massage

And this evening was the grandest of them all,
His child.
A living breathing, screaming receipt.

Hands on wheel , foot on pedal
Heartbeat drumming to the rhythms of retreat contemplating escape
Visions of broken glass as battleships
Sailing in oceans of blood and liquor
Receipts like white islands with red sand
Body on floor is mother,
Rumble outside is engine of mothers car,
Metaphor for mantra of fleeing father
Heartbeat, contemplates retreat,
Receipts of childhood yet to be disposed of,
Eyes to the highway as daughters favorite song joins in conversation with epiphany

There will be no refunds on this one ; until the one
And only receipt he knows he hopes he will never see.
The one made of gradients of stone and tears ,
like those prepared for ward 3
The one that says R.I.P , amber, Green

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