I never visited you enough, because spring
is still winter in New England, the wind
sipping from pools of melting ice. This is why
we are always too cold; always why we hide.
The chilled covers pulled over your face
like an unfinished portrait: you have shape,
but no defined lines, just the edges of where
your head and hands and legs can be assumed
to be hidden. A face without distinguishing features,
and your hawk-nose but a tuft of down encased
in soft, cool fabric. But that is only part of why I am here.
See, you haven’t left this bed in what feels like years,
swallowing too much aspirin and drowning
in the water left on your nightstand by kind neighbors.
“Because,” they have said, “a poet, especially,
should not die of thirst.”
And between sips of my cigarette I imagine
what you have become in that bed. My hand
perched on the edge of your windowsill, ash
falling through my fingers to mix with a late snow.
I do not lift your blanket for my fear of corpses.
See? you are a ghost amongst us. A child
waiting patiently to be born. So I sit with you
for a small while longer. Read passages
of Yeats and dream of magick, of cyclical movements
where we come to the place where we began
and we begin again. You always hated Eliot,
so I do not read him aloud but mutter the verses
under my breath. You preferred Frost, so I have
to but hope my stumbling cadence will be pleasing
to your ears, like a tone heard through a closed door.
And so, like this, I stay with you.