My condolences to the man dressed for a funeral, sitting bored on a gray folding chair, the zero of his mouth widening in a yawn. No doubt he's pictured himself inside a painting or two around his station, stealing a plump green grape from the cluster hanging above the corkscrew locks of Dionysus, or shooting arrows at rosy-cheeked cherubs hiding behind a woolly cloud. With time limping along like a Bruegel beggar, no doubt he's even seen himself taking the place of the one crucified: the black spike of the minute hand piercing his left palm, the hour hand penetrating the right, nailed forever to one spot.
The widower in silk pajamas slides
his hand along a glossy blue sleeve,
thinking, Water to fabric, rivulet
slipped through a needle’s eye.
He’s all ripples when he moves,
all waves breaking against flesh.
He read in the paper the human body is
80 percent water. He is almost
a brook when he wanders
around the yard, practically a river
flowing upstream when climbing stairs,
the distant past of Pacific salmon
leaping over his shoulders. He naps
for hours on a king-size, the mattress
dimpled where two bodies slept
together for decades. Dreaming,
he is the relative of that lake
where he tipped the urn overboard.
What was left of her the water
dissolved, becoming the water
and the lulling blue sounds it made
while he paddled back to land.