Tom’s Quality of Light
Devolve again into the same mandala.
Sketch to focus. It’s your meditation.
The nurse brings your evening medication.
I see it’s hard to swallow.
Draw repetitive abstract flowers.
Cedric, the black nurse whom you say
is from pine country is with you today.
He charts minutes, swallows, urine, hours.
Think only of the years, months, weeks
you may or may not purchase like indulgences
with chemo. Make known your preferences
to go back home, among the other luminous antiques.
You and Debbie made a boho life:
thirty years of squalid joy and still inspired.
No judge or minister required
to make your one great love your wife.
Your ancient kitty, missing her Tom
now yowls to the empty studio.
She thinks your absence rude. You know
that emptiness and silence are not calm.
Instead, they swell to gales overnight
that swallow reason. Everywhere you turn
sail coffins like oaken ships. Eyes burn.
Worry chemo will obliterate your sight.
Can one calculate from fear and pain a quotient
quantifying life gained over quality thereof?
She wants, (your one and only love),
for you to die a person, not a patient.
That’s progress, I suppose, from refraining
even from the thought that you may one day die.
I want you both to look Death in the eye
so you can see your light as it is waning.