As if you owned nothing
but a pair of earrings,
the two gold hoops that once hung
from the lobes of your living ears
now occupied a little plastic box
marked “patient’s belongings”
someone left for me to find
on the still, hard mound of your chest.
No sign of your cobalt blue kimono
or the brand new underwear
you had been saving in a drawer
and asked me to fetch for you–
my hands shaking–once we knew
the ambulance was on its way.
We lost connection after that.
They came, and you were gone.
Your earrings and I,
with only the turned-off machines
pushed back against the walls to overhear
said our appalling last goodbye. Then
stunned to a disbelief way beyond sorrow,
we went home. In time
I gave the earrings to your sister–
as you know she is a fool for jewelry–
who felt they should be hers.
Most of your other things have gone,
piecemeal, over the years,
each time tearing at the heart.
Only your favorite flannel shirt
stays in the closet still,
its empty arms hanging by its sides,
a last most patient belonging,
waiting for its purpose
to be once again fulfilled.