When have you witnessed a body quietly exit
the world? Once, at Christmas eve mass,
I saw a man in the back of the church
crumple to the floor. His head hit the edge
of the pew and made a muffled yet audible
sound. A small circle formed around him—
someone felt for a heartbeat, loosened buttons;
another called for an ambulance. At a different
time, a couple crossing a hotel lobby; then
the man slowly trailing behind. The woman
doesn’t notice; her stride unbroken, purposeful.
He extends a wavering arm as if to hail a cab
as his steps slur. The bellman notices and runs
across the room. He catches him, just as he loses
consciousness under the cascade of chandelier
icicles. Faint chime of elevator doors opening
or closing. Outside in the bushes, in the hold
of their little boats, fireflies bearing their own
cold light: pale frequencies pulsing green and gold.
In response to Via Negativa: R.E.M..