She watched him expire by the fading lymph-light
And knew good riddance was the appropriate sentiment except
She’d read him the books crescented in the penumbra of his node-lamp
And felt a lump unlike the one in his throat rise.
“You’re a lovely lady,” he’d say. “You remind me of…”
“That’s what you said to Tracey last shift,” she’d say,
“And we bear no resemblance.”
She logged his death and grouped the personal items in a pile.
There would be no claimants.
A tourist book on Rhodesia and Egypt she used to read aloud.
“To be sure, you’re both fine specimens of woman,” he’d say.
If only he were a decade or so younger…
She lay in the folds where the cancer had made its advances,
The raided tomb of Rameses, empty and migrained
With fluorescent fingermarks.
His body lay like a swastika foetus of labial folds.
A few sweat patches, an unremarkable Turin Shroud.
She unmade him as if unfolding an origami swan.
His case notes were closed. A repeat offender,
Despite impotence he still exposed himself.
“Just give me ten more years and I could’ve shown you
“What I could do.”
Now his belongings are rejected even by the hospice bookshop.
“Ancient history,” remarked the volunteer.
“No call for inaccurate tour guides.”