Poem 34 ± July 8, 2015

Philip F. Clark

I arrived just as they
were making your bed; I thought,
“They’ve moved him,” but no,
you were dead. Someone else
was coming in. Your sisters had left.

As the attendant finished cleaning up
and I was about to turn away,
I noticed on the table, a Red Rose teabag—
and I smiled. Your friend Jim would
always send you a box of them,
and on each tag, like an advent calendar
he’d pasted small pictures of porn under each rose.

Your laugh used to startle the nurses.
I was going to stay in the room, ask
questions but I just left, without a “Why?”

I went home and made my bed. But I lay
there thinking of you, of having just missed you,
of the few minutes of breath I might have saved
had I rushed, or taken the train instead.
And try as I might I could not cry.

Instead I began to laugh, hearing in my head
your words: “Oh lord, darling, look at these!”
And then, your command “Make me some tea!”
Thinking of you, funny ghost, I rose from my bed.
I looked at my life. I took my meds.
“Dear boy, I will,” I said.

Philip F. ClarkPhilip F. Clark’s poems and interviews have been published in Assaracus, The Conversant, Lyrelyre, Poetry in Performance, and The Good Men Project, as well as in the anthology Between: New Gay Poetry (Chelsea Station, 2013), edited by Jameson Currier. His poetry reviews and interviews have been published by Lambda Literary. A native New Yorker, he currently lives in the Bronx. He blogs at The Poet’s Grin.

This poem is not previously published.