The Body in the Other Room


The Body in the Other Room


We’d arrived too late to bid adieu to—to close

his eyes—my father, who had just gasped his last, rattled

Breath even as we shlepped along the interstate, one

Hundred twenty-nine miles, to the transient hospice:

To meet his passing: twelve minutes past the nick of time.

As he lay in his recently transformed state, surrounded by

Some family and a gaggle of others who’d usurped my

Breath and presence in that same room,

You remained with me:

His past-presence, but a body of unfinished works, in another room.


You were with me when I didn’t have the courage

To face his breathless shell in that one-less-living space:

You were with me, in the ante-room, in the sterile

Lobby--the magazine-strewn waiting place—where others,

Surely, had People’d alone for their own others in the other room

To exhale alas: to take their own last labored breaths.

In the same room, breathing our concomitant air, you

Comforted me: you validated my wan bravado,

You persevered with me:

Amidst other bodies, those interrupted texts, in those other rooms.


And every day hence, and for the decade before,

You’ve been with me, passing in the same room,

Sharing our short-pants and our pulses:

Our ecstatic insufflations,

Our stressed heart palpitations,

Our inter-spatial dedications,

            Occasional, unexpected constipations

            —under-watered dehydrations—

Our (eventually, instantly) disregarded aggravations.


In the kitchen,

            Cleaning up behind me,

In the TV den,

            Re-watching favorited shows,

On the back porch,

In the spare bedroom

            That’s become a mausoleum,

            Full of ashes and photos

            And morbose remembrances—a gathering—

of those present, dusty spirits,

            Whose last breaths were breathed

            Elsewhere, in other rooms with others

            Waiting outside, heartbroken by the

            Reality that life goes on for some,

In the laundry,

            Matching un-darned

            Holey socks and rolling towels,

In the bathroom

            Each at our own sink and mirror,

            Primping for the other,

In the bedroom,

            Deep inside each others’

            Commingled spiraling sighs,

                        And whorling snores,

In the man-cave,

            Tapping fruity IPAs,

            Surrounded by the totems of

            Our shared affinities,

On the roof and in the garden,

Walled only by the sky—the heavens—

            Blowing leaves and clearing gutters,

            Prepping for the next big windstorm,

Picking dead heads from the mums,

And cultivating your thronging knockouts

And harvesting the

            Sweet basil and mint,

And over-doting the hydrangea,

            That over-challenge and underperform,

And marveling at butterflies and bees and:

            Fleeting beauty: Flitting life-circlers.


Here, we’ve arrived, as we’ve grown from our

Relational infancy to broom-jumpers,

To honeymooners to life-companions, here:

The need for constant togetherness, having

Given way to being each others’ other bodies

In each others’ other rooms and all the spatial

Permutations that include the lively luxury of

Beingness in the same place at the same time:

We’ll be together still:

Alive and living each others’ places and self-sovereignty.


I’ll be with you, and you with me: our strengths:

When our bodies of work have given way to rattles:

Strong—despite our breathlessness—for each other:

Loving: In the libraries and lobbies—tethered—bodies

Haunting rooms and dusty spaces: popping up here and

There: exhaling alas, recalling our ecstatic insufflations

And disregarded aggravations: from this room and

That, flitting like bees and butterflies, life-circling:

Wan corpuses prevailing:

Eventually and still, interrupted: bodies in each others’ other rooms.


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