A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight…His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

– James Joyce, “The Dead”

all of those months

full of hours

full of our dealing with her dying.

one evening in late December of the third year,

three men filled her

with terror and rage,

pregnancy and miscarriage.

It was early Spring when the distillery of bad news released its quarterly report, which reflected a much higher yield than early data suggested. This was the time of her past catching up with her—with us.

sentences were obscured before they were handed out,

and further mangled

throughout the hearing

there was talk of doctors and tests

and “I’ve been sick,”

and her all the time thinking

all of those months

we prayed

to gods we couldn’t believe in.

it was late March

and snowing

that late night

she told me

we sat beneath the hallway window

smoking

In the morning, when the record ended, there was no premeditated sound—no music, no words—just silence and then a creaky chair rocking over creaky floorboards, desperate sips, sighs, deep breaths, and that clock.

tick

tick

tick

“maybe we should do some laundry,” she said.

“yes. and this apartment could use some straightening up.”