He kept a tidy, small life– or it kept him there.
The bustle around him,
Outside of him, rejected him,
While he lived off the vicarious vestiges of vivacity:
A flurry of breakfast cereals and jostling for the ironing board,
Snatches of conversation about a day's events, the rostered resents.
He avoided his reflection in their eyes,
As if to say, it's no time for good-byes.
And I call back what I failed to say,
And said instead, that he was all I needed.
I see it all so clearly now, how we hugged and shared
Our thoughts about the other. Take my word for it,
His tidy life would have been upset, but he,
All the happier for it; his one dying wish.
Yet wishes are worth less when wishes are all you have,
And regrets always turn up
After the plates are cleared away.
Later, with the last guest turned aside, he neglected
His tidy, small life and bashed
On the door outside.
Though he never complained
Or said he was hurt
By the indifferent silence, I still feel his pain;
...... absences explained
Are absences all the same.
And when he died I wallowed in a world of grief,
For a life and love treated so brief.
I walked into his tidy room among the disregard,
Abandonment and inattention – there I saw
A doppelganger of convention.
If only they had listened to
The words a gentle man did not say,
He would not have left that way.