Irene loves a man who is afraid of sex-- she's attended to everything, said it was okay, held me until I slept. She says, Why don't you just not think about it? But I want to know every sensation, nothing untouched, though I pull my hand away once she's found it I can't be around a woman too long, too much. I say, I was mistreated. She says, A cup of tea? I say, I can't start a thing and then describe the kind of thing I'd start. We talk about ballrooms, long sleeves and sashes, say someday we should go somewhere though we can't think of anywhere and then I say abruptly, I've never loved hard enough to be loved back. I say it as if I've had enough of the whole goddamn world and will never be satisfied. I'm looking at the wall. She's looking out the window because she needs to be somewhere. Later, I leave a note: Sorry for the difficulties. Meaning: how come you don't leave? I've never told this story. Even at the moment of dying, I would say it was someone else's.
Jason Shinder - 1955-2008
My only mother, who lost sixty pounds, tried to stand up in the bathroom and fell backwards on the white linoleum floor in the first hour of the morning and was carried to the bed in the nurse's arms and then abruptly opened her eyes, later, the room dark, and twisted the needles in her arms and talked to her dead friend, Rosie, and heard the doorbell ring as though in the kitchen in the old place deciding if she should answer, rubbing the circle on her finger where the wedding ring once was while slipping downward on the sheets like a body without limbs and I slid my good arms beneath her arm-pits and pulled her bony body up against the two thin pillows. And then, when she was asleep again, I walked down the hallway's arc of yellow light, ghosts hovering on either side of the doors of rooms where the strange sickness of being alive was the last thing between dreaming and eternity which closes like the ocean closes over the blue-starry body and does not stop, and I understood again that we never come back, and upright, with everything that takes its life seriously, I returned to my mother.