Arlene Ang The 2River View, 10.1 (2005)
The 49th DayListen

He breathes, and slowly, dreams of falling:
this is where we overlap hands, sometimes

voices. Moon waxes inside a bubble coming
down the IV tube; the night nurse calls it

the unavoidable extinction of bluefish, not
unlike pulling dried stitches out of a wound.

The oxygen tank is dark-green and gurgles,
refillable another word for tomorrow.

Somehow I keep thinking he needs a haircut,
20 ml more of water, some vanishing cream

on his legs. It’s easy to get lost between
Bach fugues and Fauré’s Pie Jesu like a scratch

in the vinyl record. Yesterday he talked about
going back: that pond where they caught

tadpoles, those lemon trees in the horizon,
his mother, brown-capped and smelling

slightly of burnt candle wax. A robin idles
outside the window: isn’t there another way

to say goodbye? At brief intervals, he wakes.
Together we listen to the gathering silence.

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