After the Death of Art

for Vivien Raynor, July 18, 1926 to February 15, 2009

The room is empty except for dust and trash.
Somewhere the grey ocean heaves under the grey sky.
Flat light dissipates.
The tube flickers and babbles.

He bursts in.
An American.
A silver-tongued devil.
Literal minded.
She tells him the room’s cold.
He turns the heater on.
The light’s too bright.
He turns it off.
The tube’s too loud.
He turns it down.
She can’t hear him.
He raises his voice.
Don’t shout!
They talk of the room and the dust and the ocean and the end.
He doesn’t understand.

After he leaves she calls him.
Have you eaten?
Not enough protein.
You’re tired.
Go to sleep.

Another time she sees him in a boat rowing out to sea.
He says he’s not that alone.
He doesn’t get it. He’s not going anywhere.
He agrees.
He’s weird.
Why isn’t he terrified?

She asks him to remember her.