It could’ve been the music
in his brain that summoned
the urge to push himself up
to sit at the edge of the bed.
It could’ve been a memory
of his old, favored Martin
that he played every day
even when swordfishing
out on Georges Bank.
Perhaps the myeloma decided
to give his marrow a break.

“Tryin’ to find my sweet spot,”
he mumbled, groggy, caught
between reclining and sitting up,
wrestling with pain in a search
for the comfort of equilibrium.

Face palsied from glomus
tumors, cotton mouthed,
clouded eyes, drug-lidded—
all that doughy loose flesh.

Strange, this abrupt sitting up,
oblivious to me, to the disease.
Stranger still, the sudden gesture—
he began to air play a guitar
with hands so nimble, so precise. 

The left slid along the neck,
lingered over imagined frets,
fingers mimicked chords:
A   E   F#M   A7/g   D   Dm;
the right pantomimed rhythmic
strums on invisible strings:
down, down up, down, down up.

His flabby body swayed
to the silent song he heard
but had no strength to sing,
enraptured by the uncanny,
by an unbidden sweet spot.

Then, just like that, he stopped,
crumpled back onto the hospital bed,
his body a slow-motion writhe
of twists and turns—a deflated balloon:
my younger brother two days
before his heart gives out.