For a free surface, the ocean kept its borders
     paused. For a glass rim drawing feathery networks
     on the wall, they shudder when the water nods
for the disappearance of the forest for the trees were

spaced door-widths apart. Press your wrists hard
     to the jamb for thirty seconds and describe the standing
     furniture, stripped trunks pass on a flat-bed truck
the siren tests at ten and two, your arms

float up, we called it playing ghost when we were kids
     “and that’s what dying is.” Subject to zero
     parallel stress, facedown, aligned
along right angles count the pieces

in that room stay frozen under see-through
     wrap. Affected areas are stained. The ocean almost
     empty now. I can describe it just by counting
passing cars at night extended into beams like ships

wake me up. Lie still. Metal bars slide out into the dark
     to hang coats on, doors close, the afternoon attenuated, turquoise
     carpeting so it was possible to say the over-stuffed
green armchair and settee were islands and the two of them were

stranded while they watched TV. It’s true they couldn’t
     speak to one another freely, the other
     subject spiriting the one at hand. A way
trained parallel to the received condolences

the railing for a voice like rows of trees
     shade passages of wooden doors. Behind them
     men and women lie in bed all day not really
recollecting how they came to be here, rounds go on

then turnover at nine, night falls, bright colors
     spring to mind in beds
     arranged around the ornamental
pond, a bench, another

parking lot, a gate, and then the shallow evergreen grove
     planted for appearances and fraying whatever sirens take
     the exit after it. His left hand
looks much paler since and thickening

like fresh-poured styrofoam, a rigid white
     he holds at the wrist while he
     makes small talk, soft-focusing
the situation, comparable to furniture

dismantled just by squinting, just by tearing
     up, the even edges shirred, the chairs
     on melting legs, soft chiffarobe, I can
describe what love looks like, like
nothing’s happening, two people
     in a room not even looking at each other
     speak. The trees molt paper feathers, gleaming metal
ships responsible for steering conversation in between

the dead zones drift above our heads, the higher stories’
     gridded views like ice cube trays from which
     pale single-family homes are shaken out, quick
burning strokes for swimming pools

below a face opaque as any other, actually     
     clear space through which calls drop
     swift interchangeable hands in see-through
gloves administer the new

measures. I’m doing fine. Don’t go. At five
     I used to pick the light blue off a patch
     of wall beside my pillow, habit, though
the first time must have been to see what

feeling safe was made of, sure color
     would go through, yes you look like you’re doing
     so I called this “opening gray” to the stopped-up
transfer points redundant tollbooths

everywhere cardboarded over or not yet defunct
     slots spit tickets printed with apologies to
     sign and the bar lifts. It was not her arm
that stroked me since I know

she was asleep, he said, it felt as if a concentration
     of the vacant space itself had brushed
     my cheek alive. Think of it. Wax
morning glories, implanted paraffin state-shifting

in the modified drywall twice a day keeps it always
     warm, light sticking to the buckled crests
     in old linoleum like shots of ocean
spliced into the ordinary waiting room, waded out to

what again today, weighed, waited for some
     way out not reprieve, love lives
     three blocks away from me, I seldom go
between the narrow channel cut before reply

and the reply, a land-locked compromise erected
     concrete, upright, determined by minute
     partitions on a scale not even visible before
the microscope, they told you to lie

down somewhere, indoors, late afternoon, a room
     sun tilting into cut one slender  
     aisle offering proof air
clotted to dust “and therefore is what looks clear

frenzied, numerous,” sight revised, I can describe
     inertia, I have been there, it looks
     the same as here, the street
convincingly painted onto glass as if you could go.