Release (a haibun)
It's finished now, the emptiness complete. My senses began to ebb the moment I entered her first hospital room: a glint of steel, IV tubes, starched whiteness.
Past now, her stoic struggle with pain; my pretense at believing her pretense.
Hollow, cold, I leave for the last time, alone.
Tires squeal, horns blast, traffic lights flash in glaring sunlight.
A bus. It could take me home--no, not a home, just where I suspend consciousness in sleep, only to have the pain return worse than before on waking. Silent wails within my mind--men don't cry out--someone might hear.
I wander, directionless, unseeing.
Silence beckons me from beyond wide, double doors. She used to pray here. What good? She was spared nothing. Darkness enshrouds me--the hush of shadows--flickering flames in red glass cups--plaster saints with sympathetic faces.
The pew is solid, supportive. I sit, struggle for breath. My chest tightens with each gasp for air: inhale...release...again...spasms. My throat constricts with pain, threatens to strangle. Eyes burn, fill, overflow....
alpine trickle --
parched lowlands absorb