i.  Sleep Apneic Down Under

Old man
I am on it 

Toe toward head
Bilateral titanium
Hips plus two new
iPhone-linked hearing
Aids topped off (so far)
With tortoise shell glasses

Which now set on nose CPAP
Like they was weighing a coupla
Tons that also rested on both brows

Till I got ungraded from somewhere
Between Cro-Magnon or Neanderthal
Bald but traded in a paunch cum haunches
To lift my lady for a Fancy Dan hair transplant. 

ii. [ˈin(t)əməsē]

“Poetic language must appear strange and wonderful.”

--  Aristotle

writing phonetics
distribution lexicon
remove automatization 

intimacy between a wife
and husband half century
passed takes second fiddle
to individual machinations

 amongst each Jill plus Jack’s
respective new togethernesses
with their hearing aids or C.P.A.P.
climax capped by mutual injections?

iii. Accouterments


High school facial
become depilated hair

one college pipe filled
with various weeds

wear Ivy tweed jacket
cum elbow-patches

from singles convertible
fanfare morphed into

fam Volvos then Subarus
you & life’s partner taught

to be beware how to stay
the aware course keeping

senses straight, trading 
in tortoise shells for

ill-fated LASIK surgery
vanity -- now hook up

hearing aids plus CPAP
tubes taut temporarily.

iv. Final Flickers


Taking off CPAP mask
so she could talk, her last
words before gibberish took
over were, I’m going home. 

Given imminent death,
the gathered took them
literally first, assumed
condo confusion.

But then Mom’s head
shook sideways as she
pointed to Dad’s photo
at the foot of the bed.  

Near the end, like when
he’d passed, Sis asked
me the physician, Ger,
Is she gone yet or not? 

Each time I wasn’t
about to pronounce
a loved one who might
bob back once again: 

Agonal Cheyne-Stokes
flickering breaths meant
apneic period respirations
stopping several minutes. 

Post morphine deed done,
immediate fam express
gratitude we are able to
be there for both parents

who passed peacefully --
after which I stayed behind
alone with their bodies
till they were transported.

Mortuary two days later,
my eldest grandchildren
ask if  it’s okay for them
to view the open casket. 

That vision would’ve been
inconceivable for Daddy
but now those boys seem
just old enough to handle.

Arms around shoulders,
I feel like some Sarnat
flame’s being passed on.
to our next generation.

Gerard Sarnat is a physician who’s built/staffed homeless clinics, a Stanford professor/healthcare CEO who’s been married since 1969 with three kids plus four grandkids and more on the way. Gerard Sarnat’s been nominated for Pushcarts plus Best of the Net Awards and is widely published beyond medical in academic journals such as including by Oberlin, Brown, Columbia, Virginia Commonwealth, Johns Hopkins, Wesleyan and in Gargoyle, Main Street Rag, New Delta Review, MiPOesias, Blue Mountain Review, Canary Eco, Military Experience and the Arts, Brooklyn Review, San Francisco Magazine, and Los Angeles Review. KADDISH FOR COUNTRY was selected for pamphlet distribution on Inauguration Day nationwide. “Amber Of Memory” was the single poem chosen for his 50th Harvard reunion Dylan symposium. Collections: Homeless Chronicles (2010), Disputes (2012), 17s (2014), and Melting the Ice King (2016).