I talk to you in the kitchen, no? Wouldn’t you laugh if you knew?
Except of course that you wouldn’t because you didn’t; not ever,
no matter how sunny and bright I tried to be.
These long nights I turn off the TV to read and listen;
various cats come slouching along the wall,
sinking deep into the clefts between the cushions, sleeping instantly.
Peace breaking out between us as it rarely ever did
when both of us were real, and really here.
You never did read, did you? Your eyes would glaze over
at any page lacking diagrams or photos, or a bunch of formulae.
Nonetheless, your hypothetical self sits next to me on this fourth-or-fifth-hand sofa
and when I get to a track you might have relished I pass you the other earphone;
we listen in together, I and the shade of the man-you-might-now-be.
Once in a while you appear to forget that I’m here – I being a ghost to you –
and mumble along to the music, absently. And your singing voice is as soft and
loud, and as slightly-off-key as it always used to be. I loved your voice.
Every so often I go to your funeral, as in reality it is not very likely
that I will be asked to do. Over there – that’s me in fusty black under grey, imagined
sky, trying not to make it too obvious that I’m freezing –
at the brutalist crematorium that swallowed up my Dad.
I rarely cry except a tear or two, hypothetically. Because all said and done
this isn’t really real. And I wonder how the Real Thing would have gone
if you’d happened to go before me, and if we had still been We,
not You and I.
Featured Image: Funeral Procession: Clementine Hunter (1886-1998)