Another night, another load of corpses,
jostled out of the reeds by college rowers,
according to the local crime reportage.
Sinking, pack-laden, into the Normandy riptide
during a grainy late-night documentary.
Blue-lipped, mottled, chill on a coroner’s slab
in this week’s twenty-third detective thriller
or mud-bloody in Bosworth-Fieldian chaos.
(Shakespeare’s? history’s? It hardly matters.)
Bullets, gurglings, screams, ominous music:
the screen supplies us everything but the odor.
Does this explain why I was unprepared
when, after hours of sitting beside my mother—
alone, flown hurriedly in from far away—
hours of rosaries, psalms, calm classical radio,
with no response apart from her changeless breathing,
I ducked into the hospice kitchen, thinking,
Might it be safe to break for a bit? Wolf down
my leftovers of spinach-and-cheese croissant?
and she, with her usual undramatic methods,
met God while I was paying no attention?