Saturday, May 2, 2009


senescent \si-NES-uhnt\adjective:
Growing old; aging.

After 53 years, she couldn't sleep in the middle of the bed. She still kept to her side. And in the mornings, after she got herself up, slipped her feet into slippers, and shuffled to the kitchen, it was difficult for her not to set the table for two. Some mornings she didn't have the energy to resist, and to set a spot for him would be eerily comforting - even to fill his coffee cup, and make it just the way he liked it. Even though she had almost always drank it black, she had started adding cream and sugar, because of course the flavor was of him, his sweetness. She would face his empty seat, stare at the steam raising from his mug, lost in memory and sighing.
Moving on took energy, energy that was harder to summon up at her age, energy she hadn't thought to save up a reserve of. She had always naively thought they would go together. That they would drift into sleep one night, holding hands, and just neither of them wake up. She was only half-way right.
And now she didn't know what to do, except continue to make his favorite meals. She had begun the strange habit of wearing his clothes to bed: a white t-shirt, a pair of boxers. Something she had never done while he was alive, but now it seemed like the only right thing to do. It meant she could still do his laundry, smell his clean shirts, feel the cotton of his underwear rub against her skin in the night, as she used to when he lied beside her. It meant still having to fold them and place them in his dresser drawer. Sometimes she might even lay out slacks and blouse and tie, arrange them on the bed, as if on a flat person. Lay next to it, play with the collar of the shirt, the buttons. After a few minutes, she would feel silly and put it all away - again the folding, the careful placement back onto hangers, the pretending that he'd need these things again.


From Deaf Republic: 16
by Ilya Kaminsky

Yet I am. I exists. I has
a body,
When I see

my wife's slender boyish legs
the roof
of my mouth goes dry.

She takes my toe
in her mouth.
Bites lightly.

How do we live on earth, Mosquito?
If I could hear

you what would you say?
Your answer, Mosquito!

Above all, beware
of sadness

on earth we can do
- can't we? -

what we want.