SO AS NOT TO DO MORE HARM
Evenings, he downs one then the other
brandy Manhattan, swallowing the cherry
from her emptied cocktail glass. The spectral
ice cubes remind him how cold summer has become.
They clink together, then part, as he swirls
grief with his index finger and licks it clean.
As if he could spin straw into gold. As if
magic could bring her back. He used to open
both sides of the bedsheet. Tired of the flatness
beside him, he now chooses to sleep on the couch
on her pillow, parting the midnight curtains
to let in some shards of moon and streetlight.
Mornings, he shaves with her safety-razor, a reminder
of touch. Sets out another plate before the empty chair.
When he was with her cold body at the scene, he peeled
her shredded cycling gloves from each stiff finger, one by
one, so as not to do more harm, steepling her hands
across her stilled chest. The mangled bike still remains
in his trunk. Her plastic beaded bracelet still hangs
from the rearview. But tonight, as he returns to
the scene alone again, all that black macadam
emptying in her honor, he stretches the gloves
over his own hardened hands and clenches
the wheel like a rosary. Time stops. Returned
to the house that has lost its home, he removes
her crumpled clothes from the hamper,
sniffing each piece, reluctantly washing
her from them, drying, smoothing their
wrinkles, holding each up to the faint
lights exhaling through the unopened window.