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In Memoriam

We are wrong when we say of the dead
They are no longer with us
Because the room where she lived
Is full to bursting
With the presence
Of her absent self

I don’t blame the heart
That decides
It has suffered enough
And refuses
To start beating again
The lungs
That refuse
To start breathing again
The brain that refuses
One more minute
Of fear
And loneliness
I don’t blame the one
Who lies down
And never gets back up again
I’ve longed for that moment
Often enough

I knew her for exactly
Sixty days
But what does it mean
To say that my knowledge of her
Is in the past tense?
I still know her
And she still is
The only one of her
That ever was
Or is
Or will be

It’s just that
The days in which I came to know
Are no more
I will not have another day in the presence of
Her voice
Her mannerisms
Her weeping and laughing
Just sixty
Only sixty
No more

And now begins
The long count of days
In which I do not
Her voice
Her mannerisms
Her weeping and laughing
And onward
Until I too
Am only present
As an absence

She lost consciousness on Sunday
Machines kept her breathing
Until Wednesday
And then they didn’t anymore
Wednesday was her move-in day
Her end to homelessness day
Her welcome home day
And I had to call her housing support workers
Oh no
I had to tell them
Good god
I had to tell them
I’m so so sorry
I had to tell them
She is dead

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