from Grief Sequence, SEQUENCE 7

I thought he was over-medicating himself and planning his suicide. I took the pills away from him. He looked defeated. He said as much. I felt sorry for both of us. His expressions held this enormity and a seared-exhausted center. Spatial discomfort started to affect him but didn't take hold till the next day, when he started to lose consciousness and rattled the house yelling about thieves, robbers, drunks, and pill-snatchers.  We didn’t know what was going on: the tumor was rapidly metastasizing its mass through his cerebellum. His body became harder to manage and he sprung through the house with fear tugging violently at his bile duct tube. Aja and I camped in the front rooms.
The last night of intimacy, of lucidity—unbeknownst to me—we sat together huddled and I caressed him, cradling his arms, his legs, and his penis. I was sure we had time left for more, but this was the last time he spoke and searched my face and looked at me with a recognition I understood.
It’s how we moved out of consciousness. I am haunted by those last days before we succumbed to hospice. I remember how stunning he was resting in bed—that week before, in our library with a cornflower blue-sheeted bed made by Ashby and Spider. In that bed, he had a look of wonder when we put movies on—he excited over Wilson, the ball in Castaway and stared unblinkingly at Tom Hanks. We giggled over this, and appreciated how Andrew put the Eno station on next, and Aja lit and framed this sheeted bed with a twinkling lamp, an illuminant: bulbs he found soothing. We all watched him compose in the air to Philip Glass. I wished that we could have unleashed him to his afterlife then. That's what he would have wanted: a release to his own universe sonant and material, an ethereal ball. An awkward Tom Hanks, a Wilson, and a castaway in a glittering hand-printed sea. This death sequence was the one I wanted for him.
Prageeta Sharma, "from Grief Sequence, SEQUENCE 7." Copyright © 2018 Prageeta Sharma. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2018)
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