Sets of Things

I’ve been sad and can’t find a seasonal sequence. I go forward then my order reverses and it’s winter again two years ago, with that sticky ice that lost your footing as you gripped that container of Greek yogurt you brought to the doctor’s, even when you couldn’t speak; you only darted your eyes with a fear that continually registered in your pupil size. You clutched your sets of things. I am full of what are sets of things I know well then I go backwards and I don’t have any sets of things. I see your pink-stained washcloth from your wool coat. Your cerebellum tumor is inside with your other tumors but I don’t know it’s there yet neither do you. It appeared and controlled your brain and the things you couldn’t hold. I wonder what things really are, if they are just a set of symbols we sequence and then find purposeful. I wonder if they are like rituals that we learn for our brain. We have those for our body and those for our brain. I look at you — you are alive — and you breathe labored breaths then you died. There, in the hospital bed, when I let time lapse not knowing how to hold you. I let you die for seven days. Your daughter, bigger than I am, could hold you. She could use her muscles to grip you, but I couldn’t hold you, even though you lost forty pounds your last month. I couldn’t find the sequence because I reversed everything into its pain cycle and you didn’t want me to watch you die but I couldn’t understand how everyone could let it happen and I could too, but only if I could let it fall into its hole, its awkward sequence, around death; it’s not awkward it’s just not right. I could make as many intuitive decisions, and many logical sequences occurred around your treatments, but I didn’t know you were stepping out of sequence, and treatments are not producing remedies, and I left myself at the side of the hospital bed. You were in another light, exiting slowly. I thought the sequence of grieving would banish all the anxiety but it came back this year. I became debilitated. I have a debilitating anxiety that I thought was gone. 
I have too many anxious sequences now and they are blurring meaning. They are blurring my truths like time-lapses and I don’t rush to find the joy of the occurrence without looking for the traps, and my logic, and my stumbling out into another bed that places me in this now-future and you don’t see me because you are no longer alive with me and I can’t rectify this sequence. And I worry that when I love him he will die too. I can’t happen into its learning like it’s wisdom. It’s still deeply unconscious to hold this fear after I banished worry because I looked it in the eyes and it was real and I felt I knew what it looked like. It’s the unknowing learning that I was deeply afraid to imagine and yet it’s your empty bed, your empty closet, you’re empty of the spirited you that gave you to me, in that human way we come to rely upon and that shames us so. And every night of this thinking is a long night of this thinking. Do you fall into bed with us, and I have no idea of this? I’d love to think it’s so, and we have room for your sets of things.

More Poems by Prageeta Sharma