On the edge of my bed, his outline brightened by moonlight, his profile sharp and reassuring just as it was, then later at the market his round shoulder turning, hawk’s brow silent and still, his little cap tipped so familiarly, thereafter whenever I need him, each time his age the age I am, as if he were living his life alongside mine as a comfort, as if in verbless scenes of being we result. In times of crisis, his firm hand. If he were me,. To know again the abundance of being unabandoned, not bereft! Everywhere reminders of him carried on the breeze or taking the empty seat beside me. But also as before, formed of fog against the mirror in the room where I have showered, his contours edgeless and vague, a reluctant awareness—at times when I am decidedly alone—of his uninvited presence. Wind beneath the door. Faces changing on the street from theirs to his. Questions asked by strangers in his voice I almost answer. And hands, determined, familiar hands in my hair not mine on a night when I’m home by myself. I need a good night’s sleep and soon. Will I dream? Scenes of my life shaped as shadows chased by failing light through the windows across my bedroom walls. This room where only I belong, this bed which should be mine alone, instead, a hand on my shoulder which I make real by taking it in mine. Fine. Let’s do this, then. Whatever you’re up to, but on my terms this time, understood? You’re not finished with me yet? Hear this. I’m not finished with you. You think nobody owns the dead? You’re mine. And I will make of you whatever I need and everyone will know what you were to me.

Copyright © January 26, 2008 David Hodges