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Did you see the front door ajar?

How it waited for us to walk through

waited for us to spend a snippet of time

with him?

That door

          his door

waited patiently for us

          for anyone

willing to come in

for a moment or two.

Those moments seemed too few

spread too far apart

          we knew that.

We also knew how hard it was

          for any of us

to get to that point

of walking through

the waiting door.

That door

          his door

waited in silence

          most of the time

hoping against hope

that some friendly knuckles

would willingly tap out their presence.

No matter how dim the light

beyond that door

we knew he waited

as patiently as his door.

We knew the gift of our time

would be welcomed

          if only to stare

          at snow-covered reruns

          on his black and white rabbit ears

but we knew we were welcomed

just the same.

The smile in the wheelchair

when the black-screened door

squeaked “welcome in”

          even in his own silence

it told us how much

we needed to be there

          needed to stay awhile.

So few words were shared

          from him

during the snow-covered static

humming louder than his voice

but his words were there

          just the same

as solid as that door.

The eyes in the wheelchair

barely glanced away

from the black and white rabbit ears

but the words we shared

still created smiles

hidden behind the mask of the door

          you just have to know what to look for.

We do.

We know how much talk is shared

with each well-chosen “yeah”

each well-punctuated “okay”.

We know his barely-there eye contact

pleads us “stay”

         pleads “don’t go.”

We know that that door does too.

And when that door

          his door

slowly closes behind us,

we know the sadness it feels.

How slowly it closes

is a mirror

to the lowering of  eyelids

in the wheelchair behind it.

Dedicated with love for my brother

Charles Thomas Wallace

July 6, 1949 – November 2, 2007

My world is richer from having you in it.