Linda Elkin, “Simply Because He Is Mine”

orange line

Simply Because He Is Mine

After my father fell
in the shower,
the meanness
slipped right out of him.

Now he surfaces
in a coma, repeats
a phrase, familiar,
but useless,

except it links me,
animal-like, daughter.
His hands and
feet, familiar, similar

to my own. His mouth
opens and closes.
I feed him fish and rice,
overcooked carrots,

hold the fork
to his mouth, then the cup,
the sweet, pale juice.
I watch him sleep, hold

his hand, claw-like,
the grip he has
no control over. My father,
on morphine, hours pass

before he opens his eyes.
I wait by his bed, watch him,
talk to him, while he sleeps.
Nothing between us but

the familiar form
of our bodies, needs
simplified. I coax him
to breathe, his one last job.

You are my flesh and blood,
he used to say. I sit
by my father, watch over
him, flesh of my

flesh, daughter, father.
When he wakes, I feed him,
simply because he is mine.
Simply because he is mine.


Linda Elkin’s poetry has been published in numerous publications, including The Bloomsbury Review, Antiphon, Clementine, and in the anthology Kindled Terraces: American Writers in Greece (Truman State University Press). She earned an MFA from the Warren Wilson Program for Writers and has been awarded writers residencies at Soapstone and the Vermont Studio Center. Linda grew up in NYC and now lives in Oakland, California.


4 thoughts on “Linda Elkin, “Simply Because He Is Mine”

  1. This poem is gorgeous in its imagery and its simplicity. The poem evoked a sadness in me, as my own father is aging, though he is quite healthy. I adore the caring tone of the narrator for her father. I will be sharing this poem with my high school creative writing class later today.


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