“They All Slept Here” by Ilenia Pezzaniti

“They All Slept Here” by Ilenia Pezzaniti

Our bed is not stained with droplets
of old blood. There is no chair on which
to prop an Impressionist print
of two ladies walking away with parasols,
nor antique TV pixels jealous of their stillness.
We have no faux wood headboard.
Our room is no hotel or photo.

A blue, white and green
painting hangs over our heads,
large with trying to be water and air
and the space between,
as though three elements could be
simple color and their memory enough
to soothe me in the dark on clean sheets.

Startled awake, my pulse believes
you are the man on screen
stranded in the middle of a road
walking away from death,
helicopter hovering overhead,
disembodied voice seeing just enough
of size and skin to summarize you.

Any move you make to reach for phone,
I.D., risks your body’s claim
to blue, white and green.
No last text I’m on my way.
From above, at dusk, we don’t know
if the pixelated bloom on your shirt
is black or red.

I blink in the dark.
I can’t see you.
You breathe, refuse screens.
Pressed against your heat,
I let you sleep.

for the family of Terence Crutcher

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