His wife was suspected when she failed to crumble
on her doorstep, where the police officers dropped her husband's ghost
like a dead animal.
The neighbors watched her--
they couldn't remember the last time death had come so spectacularly,
And without memory, conscience was impossible.
He was gone, his life was an end-table tarnished with spare buttons.
She hid for days beneath shadows of drapes,
middle-aged as a tree. Faded as shapes yellowed onto fabric.
Her skin the color from a face newly shattered,
bloodless as a cancelled lunch.
When she looked out the window, perched upon his side
of the bed, she formulated a toppled kingdom with a rumple of sheets
beneath her hand.
Something leaned across the air of her in a man's voice.
"The dogs are upon you, lamb."
He had left nothing, just clothing in its proper place.
They had dredged the river and they spooned his gumbo
out of the surges.
He had entered the city by foot, walked the riverbank
braving the underside of bridges.
An old man replete as a stone, soft slacks and shoes
that made cricket sounds as he shuffled further downriver.
No shiv or bullet signified, just piecemeal
staining the water like morning light
and a wife blanked by invisible grief who knew only what size shirts he wore
and the last time she saw him:
his last night on earth (her words)
when he had eaten more than his usual share
and from fullness
wanted to stretch his legs,
feeling younger than he had in a long time.