He frightens them, as always,
with his dire echoes of final days.
Mother is fidgety, Father smokes.
Geraldine plays the viola.
This is how a family copes with a child
a continent away.
This is how they perceive his blank stare:
This is why they move to higher ground:
They tiptoe around him
as if he were the rising tide,
wait for the storm to subside.