We fumble familiarly
our minds navigating their spaces
our bodies rounding corners
absently avoiding debris
Upon extending an arm
at the right height
of a doorknob
while staring ahead
we enter our bedrooms
where we are suddenly surprised
by the faint recognition
of our own
All the previous deaths were un-posted; word came by ring tone or Post, not post
the stunned silence of a monitor, your face.
You raced down the hall and leapt,
shrieking to your then-well husband, “Linda is dead!”
You have since committed the crime of alerting,
signaling death’s sentinel by a mouse-click of Send.
When your husband died, you kept him home one more night,
the urgency of a funeral home, a coroner, not your own.
You slept on the futon beside the hospital bed in the then bedroom,
once dining room, where you had at one time only celebrated.
The next morning he no longer resembled the man you had wed.
When the gurney took your Love out the door, you sat before the monitor,
stunned, and alerted all you knew through the only words you had left.
Paintings on the walls, books lining the shelves, a dimly lit chandelier hovering above a single lit candle on the dining room table
Once I pulled into the drive and there was a boy leaning forward to light the candle, a girl setting the table, a man at the sink — a painting exhibiting chiaroscuro
No one else peering in would know this father had just entered the scene, that the girl has nightmares, that the boy has nestled and locked a hidden place that recalls his father’s deathbed breaths
What brush strokes captured the scene best, or at all, and what would be revealed should the frame change, should some of the paint be scraped away to reveal the original strokes, and more simply, how the mother about to arrive down center would present?
That evening observing the peaceful scene, the cold outside holding me in place, the warmth inside beckoning, the dog nudged me just as I was entering the stage of hopeful dreaming
Deirdre Fagan is a widow, wife, and mother of two who has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Most recently, her work has appeared in Amaryllis, Every Day Fiction, New Verse News, Rat’s Ass Review, and The Opiate. She is also the author to Critical Companion to Robert Frost and has published a number of critical essays. Fagan teaches literature and writing at Ferris State University in the USA where she is also the Coordinator of Creative Writing. Meet her at deirdrefagan.com