I watch what hovers like genie smoke – the grief –
near ancient tombs of white marble with grey veins,
or gravestones on a desert hill,
images that filter vaguely out of the words we use to mourn.
Are you awake?
I must stay watchful in that smoke,
with only the clarity of waiting for something inevitable,
a narrow-eyed, silent resolution to refuse rhythms
and primordial dictates of light.
My Calathea, my plant, breathes in slow motion,
stretches like it’s waking
so it looks different when I come home to it,
and different again in the morning,
and I remember to live with something alive
that can change.

To keep vigil –
Save it for later? Hoard it?
I fold a piece of the smoke that hovers
like a handkerchief
and tuck it into my sleeve.
Because it seemed to come along.
There it will stay until I launder, or air it and forget to put it back.

Voices from beyond rise out of my photocopies, damp today.
Shadows thickly grace the pages, and I think my eulogy has already been written,
written somewhere else, better felt.
That handkerchief has been in my sleeve more than a week, now.
I unfurl it for a moment
and its contents join the dust I can’t see when it rains.
I sigh here, and put it back.
To spit out little phrases into sermon:
Shall we now canonize, or debate the essence of martyrdom?
Shall we draw ever more elaborate question marks?
No, I promise, I’ve been awake the whole time.

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