Posted on Sunday, November 28, 2010, under

for K.

You appropriate love
like San Francisco does the bay
although the here and the thereof
seem sunlight years away
from the breakfast bay-window
we once sat by, curtain-shielded
from the sequined ocean down below –
a certain added quality
to the hotel’s sixties air of doomed
prosperity (a reviewer described his room
as quite old and clean;
we found ours quite clean and old).
That sun-struck morning
in a capital ‘D’ dining hall,
its ceiling dinosaur-tall (once you said
you liked herbivore dinos)
you reassert yourself as the slowest
omnivore known to man
slicing your egg and ham
as your lips infinitesimally part,
sipping your lukewarm café noir,
asking me where the lowest calories are.

You appropriate love
as the here and the thereof contort
like a wounded animal.
We are at the city hospital –
sooner or later they’ll take
your mum off life support
for better or for worse –
on the sixth floor terrace
where nurses bring up gossip
in the fickle November sun
as our Fresco paper cups (yours
is hot cocoa mine cappuccino)
warm up our hands and through hands
our hearts a little.
A warmer foyer smells of coffee beans
brewed in deafening machines.
Your mobile rings: a nurse says
your mum may get worse.

You see me off to the train to
stretch your leg, excuse the pain.
It’s a long night of vigil ahead
and you say you won’t even need
that pillow kindly offered
by a young nurse. You say,
‘How young, these nurses and doctors’.
It’s hard to place trust in youth I know
yet youth is the thing that walks
along these spic-and-span corridors
and you’ll have to tiptoe and listen
to what youth has to say.

Back in the lantern-lit Kyoto,
my woolly hat still nestled
against a basket-mesh
of my illegally parked bike.
I've been assigned fresh love.
I pedal home to the here
and the thereof.

November, 2010

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