I watch you, quiet now within
the rest of the not-quite-dead.
Your breath, a roller-coaster,
drags up the tracks, teeters
on the brink then shakes
on down life's long siding.
You are tethered to the IV stand
as if, unrestrained, you might run
from this place, choose to hide
behind the doctor's car, away
from the stick of treatment
silently given, mutely received.
Clothes sloughed off, I slip between
starched sheets, slide my body
spooned to yours, ease skin to skin.
Your tremors at touch's recognition
cease then shudder on through
a waltz of wasted muscle.
Who cut your charcoal locks, lover?
Who gave you this old man's hair?
Low on the nape of your neck, beyond
the scrape of disinfectant, our anniversary;
you in a tuxedo, uncorking champagne,
silver bubbles spinning across the room.
Big man of mine, who squeezed
you into this dried husk? What joker
thought this a great punchline?