They watch their lives pass by with the swipe of a finger, just like before in the Ring of Destiny. Characters in a play, I close the book on this chapter, waiting for the next. This gentleman who was once my father-in-law passes away quietly in a hospital bed, one of hundreds in this county of retirement. We watched the nightly news in a retirement home in the Central Florida woods, just a room away, quiet as mice, while he sat in his own shit and piss, unable to state his terms, unable to jerk the leash on the second wife, to let the rescue hound lick his feet, the dog? where is the dog? Perhaps in his next life, he will choose love. But none of us do, despite our tears, entreaties to stay or to go, a thousand and four plans in the books before one harrowing night watching these men in fire coats drag your loved one away on a stretcher.

I can’t stay in this room anymore. I can’t keep watching lives on remote control. Where can I go to touch my words to your lips, pour my heart on a slab for you to devour, drown in your water of despair, bury this half-assed poetry?

I will die holding this cheap knockoff they call love, while you force a laugh at a joke you overheard but did not understand, the two of you shooting selfies by the beach.


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