A cat in a Rhode Island nursing center senses when patients
are about to die, and curls beside them to mount a death-vigil
in the final hours. —New York Times
There was a time I fantasized a kind of geezer
in a cape and cowl, and we’d play doleful chess
in black and white, or roll the dice from leather cups;
or someone philosophical and Levantine,
who lays a finger near his eye, and smiles and shrugs.
A woman from Japan was yet another thought;
chalk skinned and mute, inscrutable, the way they are.
Presence seemed to count, as well as metaphor.
But lately life has narrowed. What I crave
is one who’ll come to smooth the sheets or wrap
me warmly, croon a little song, and help
the parts and pieces that are here behave
as now I lay me down to what shall be.
I like it when you lie so close to me.