The couch was smaller than the bed
that used to sit against the wall;
The imprint of its frame still visible,
surrounding the place where we sat
like a moat to contain our mourning.
She had died in that bed, and her breath
still hung there, days after she left -
body and all - from a room down the hall
where her husband once slept -
I remember peeking in the door to see her,
stroking his hands as he breathed his last
beneath sheets of plastic and sanitizer.
I didn't cry when she passed, but the neighbors did,
turning their heads to the ceiling
as if looking for words of comfort
she may have etched there from beyond.
She was gone, and then the bed, the couch,
and we and all its spirits with it.
Once the house emptied,
it was bought up by a restauranteur,
and soon, plates of spaghetti
were being served in spaces once touched
by love and death; wine glasses enjoyed
on tables where a washer and dryer once stood,
the last load being the washclothes used
to wash her dying forehead, and the gown
in which she wanted her body to be burned.
I never ate there, but would always wonder,
passing by, gazing in the windows,
would the food would taste better or worse,
if those people knew her name.
6/30/13, edited 1/3/14