When Breath Becomes Sky
He lies in his strange bed in the center
of this newly strange house.
The oxygen concentrator pants
in the corner, its tubes trailing
across the pillow like transparent tentacles.
Loss stalks the room, making no sound.
Time has turned to March.
The ocean is mercilessly
blue. White roses in a smudged
vase drop their petals
to the cold floor. The mourning
doves have returned
with their terrifying voices.
As the Sky Drifts Toward Dark
She chops rose petals and lilies,
mixes in the blue of Mont Blanc ink,
adds a dipper of water from the fountain,
salts it all with beach sand.
She listens to sounds returning, girls
chalking hopscotch squares
on the sidewalk, TV shouting threats
through the last bit of light.
The color of the ink shines
like water and oil in a ditch, purple
and pink, iridescent blue. Soup
for some tomorrow’s half-lit world,
soup to calm the men loitering
on the corner, to lull the children
as the color fades.
It’s all that she can do.
Ruth Bavetta is a poet and artist whose poems have been published in Rhino, Rattle, Nimrod, Tar River Poetry, North American Review, and many others. Her books are Embers on the Stairs (Moontide Press), No Longer at This Address (Aldrich Press), Fugitive Pigments and Flour, Water, Salt (FutureCycle Press).