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May 2016
The road hissed under balding black
punched staccato rhythms up your back
Wind whining through the window crack
but you knew:
You knew where you were
Felt the dark spaces between
Here and there

You didn't see the car that swerved
in and out of traffic as if threading
The eyes of unseen needles.
But you knew all about needles

The car pitched upward slowly gaining
like a rollercoaster just before the drop
fighting inertia, trying to build momentum
You knew you'd never use, like your body

You didn't see the man outside the waiting room
sitting silent, motionless
Studying the ceiling with an anguished look
A prayer of supplication written on his still lips

The air was still as we suddenly felt heavy
Lifted through a concrete column in a metal box
you felt the ding as much as heard it
The doors slid open, then cool air and a new smell
Somehow more metallic than the elevator

You didn't see me close my eyes the whole way up
Didn't see the expressions I could not hide from me
Or shift my hands in my pockets, uselessly
Or my face when they told you two months, maybe three
My voice you knew all too well when
A month ago I sang in G, but all I could say now
was in a minor key, we both tired of being weary

The corridor was bright, obscenely lit in false light
not unlike the perfume of the week old roses passed
and in a moment they were threading needles in you
a perfect traffic jam of hopes choked and left
to die on the blacktop

You didn't see the church where we held the service
Or your sister and mother who, though she could barely stand
Stood by you one last time.
And I could not think of anything to say.
Had you been there you would have teased
"But you were always so good with words"
And all I could muster? "I wish you'd stay"
Andrew Siegel
Written by
Andrew Siegel
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