One drop of blood must have escaped
the nurse’s needle, for a stain sprang up
on the bedroom chair. I never
noticed until after you’d stopped rocking there
how things appear and dis-
appear and fade. Except
the spot where red wine
spilled in the living room
the night you died.
While you lay dying
in a twist of covers, I
went for a run. I was greedy
for death: its sky-broke-
open light, its shelf-rattle
reordering of every book
and trinket. I stopped
for nothing as I ran at dusk
across the bridge chasing
every breath. Every
breath. Life is never such a
lungful as death.
The weight surprises me.
I bring you back through
the same door.
Nothing has changed.
Following that first combustion
fragments shake out, scatter, recombine.
I want you back.
But the day moves on, wrapping
its thin wind around my thighs and chest,
my hair protesting wildly.
What I’m Wondering Now
How the cat turned up on your bed
the night before you died. Impossible?
She hadn’t jumped that high in all the year
that you’d been ill and she’d accumulated
ailments of her own: diabetes, blindness, kidneys
failing. What brought her to you
that last middle of the night? They say
a cat will stalk the scent of milk on infants.
Was she there like me to breathe
your morphine breath? Or was it hope
your hand would rise from sleep
to rub its length to hers in one
sleek, final dream?