The Next Day

“Take them. Take them all,” she says. So one by one we tiptoe into his room to get them, clack clack of hangers, scrape of drawers, depositing our loot onto the bumpy chenille on Lise’s bed.

Dark gnomes, we rifle through shirts, ties, sadness of suspenders, small squalls breaking out here and there between us. Joe tries on suits — he’s the closest in size. I pull on sleeves stiff with starch, lift trousers with the knees still in them.

Someone brings up a tray with beer. We drink it till our eyes grow shiny, our fingers fatten to the search.

He’s beyond caring, of course. A lump under velvet. Last night they rolled him away like room service for the other side. Tonight they will raise one puppet arm then the other, dressing him in the dark suit of infinity.

A scent is uncovered on the bed. I follow it, stumbling in bright confusion to watch him shave in the middle of the night.

Laughter shakes out of this shirt. “Do you remember?”
“Yes.”

We hold his clothes to us, between us, between us and the sun, piles forming on the bed, dying embers of a distant fire. So it goes until afternoon passes quietly, its light easing down the side of the garage. And so begins a sleep that is deeper than dreams. And so begins his own rifling through our hearts.