Those weeks alone in her flat were difficult.
It was cold and I got sick after the funeral.
I had sat on a plane for hours, straight and
by the time I wound the tortuous roads in-
land to up-stream Latium, I had been
on the road, for about 40 hours. It was good
to get clean at last and eat the rough Sabine food,
a hot winter soup and hard bread and beans and pork,
and good drink. I got dropped off and opened her door
for the first time in more than a year. There was
no-one there and I felt, what? I slept on her bed
curled in a ball. I was cold but I slept like the dead –
good, down for the first time in two days. I saw her
lying flat in the morning, flowers on her breast;
and later at the church and last, the beautiful
cemetery by the monastery of St Francis
at Fontecolombo: the Dove’s Fountain. The ceremony
of a digger filling the grave troubled me. A friend
put her arm round me, and later in the week she came
with her husband to see me, and I was so out of it,
nodding on the chair, laughing occasionally.
I remember. The family doctor had been… supportive.
It was cold and not quite winter. The end of November –
when pigs btw get slaughtered. She used to run, run
from the farm as a little girl and block her ears.
I understand this and try hard not to care.
I want to tell her now that she is not a cold
set of bones buried underground in her soiled
gown. It’s for the scientist to strip us down,
bare of, or to a bare root of, meaning. We dig
past the facts I think. But, they write the books
I will read some day, dying and senile, and declare
my atheism in support, a last stupid act
of defiance. Now, I want to tell her that she lives
for real and for good – not just in some metaphor
I thought up, which is really nothing at all. I recall
one morning how the wind cut through my clothes
on my way to see, vaguely, an office clerk in town.
I had to take care of some business, a lot more
than I care for. Friend, I felt so cold. Those weeks
in the flat are like a dream to me now. I disposed
of her clothes. You know how that feels, or imagine.
I kept her winter shawl and her dressing gown. Took them
11 October 2015