Standing by the window,
her face pressed into
the primitive shapes that
the night tattooed in frost.
Her breath against the glass obscures the field,
like the emptiness before the first thought revealed
with a finger, one solitary word left in the fog,
It is a labor to remember
the last letter
left in an empty box.
The faceless stranger,
her only visitor,
adds to the stack of morning papers
strewn in the hallway, a kind of intermediary
to the threshold she would no longer go beyond.
With a sigh she picks one up.
“This world is no longer mine but I’ll go along.”
The illusion becomes entertainment.
The passage of time, amplified at the end of life.
Like the ancient tree that loosens its leaves,
shaking free of the debris that years have left behind.
Independent? For nothing grew in your shadow.
A defining tenet, now stretched with solitude
and the absence of birds who have yet to return.
There’s an eerie quiet to the canopy these days,
like the aftermath of a storm.
The port is empty, all the boats are pulled in.
There’s barely a soul to witness
the moon stranded in pools of rainwater,
filling empty flower pots.
She could almost smell the wet soil
beneath the disheveled rosebush.
There’s a pale fingernail of light
that clutches the edges of dark liquid.
Seeking a glimmer at the bottom of the glass,
she begins to lose her grip the deeper she goes in.
Dark thoughts swallow down,
dim light on lips, dawn’s another sip.
The will, like a lifeline,
when you’re drowning one day at a time.
Another slip into the refuge of dreams,
classical music, stained windows and high ceilings.
The angels and their voices singing Ave Maria
by morning have become the chortle of crows,
their mocking accompanies
the graveyard fingers of dead trees
scraping at the screens in the wind.
When movement is like a broken machine,
thoughts become mechanical
in the pill swallowing routine bouts of hypochondria.
Looking in the mirror, has her hair grown whiter?
she cannot go anywhere.
Is Shangri La the solace of distraction?
The statuary silence of friends in picture albums?
The light of a visage upon opening each page
becomes a surrogate visit
within the yellowing of age.
Where mouths do not speak nor expressions change.
Without new memories,
these effigies will pass
one by one
into the darkest corners of the basement,
through a door seldom used and slightly ajar.
She will not go down there anymore
for fear of falling in the dark,
what does she have left to hold onto?
She remains rooted to the kitchen table,
nodding off again.
Her face pressed up close to the empty glass.
Upon waking, she’ll view the room through this prism.
Everything still spinning, the ceiling circular,
closing in to the claustrophobic sensation of being trapped.
She sees her reflection, light is refracted but nothing is raised.
She can only bury her face
and stare plainly at her own mortality.
Through this glass darkly,
full of spirit but no less lonely,
the days lose their bearings in the fog
the ticking wall clock,
the liquid corrosion of
a dripping faucet
amplify the sensation
of time slipping away.