Three days, is what the HR rep said, somewhat sheepishly,
Fully aware that boxing up one’s grief in a span of a few dozen hours
Is a matter of wishful thinking at a time when both are in short supply,
And certainly she sympathizes (indeed, as she speaks,
She spreads her hands in such a way
As you half expect doves to come forth
In full flight) empathy being their stock in trade,
But the law and the handbook say three days,
At which time you need to have your head screwed back on and looking forward.
Eventually, the mail brings fewer envelopes
Adorned with embossed flowers and subdued and tasteful stamps,
And the usual flow of solicitous inquiries, pre-stamped and pre-sorted,
Inquiring as to your credit needs, your concern for orphans and old-growth forests
And the condition of your windows and siding, resumes apace;
More than once, in a fit of inappropriate black humor and frustration,
You scribble, in bold thick strokes of a marker,
The addressee no longer resides at this location.
You return to nine-to-five—but your ghosts keep their own hours,
Stopping by to visit as their own schedule alone sees fit,
Prompted by the tiniest of things: the dog scampering to its feet in a rush,
As if someone was at the front door,
The discovery of a long-unused pitching wedge in the back of the closet,
A song from long ago that a favorite tune
When you lived in the pairing mandated by Noah,
Before you entered the shadowy world of ones and nones.
Sometimes you give into a giddy, inexplicable madness,
And rise to waltz around the room, careening about clumsily,
As you have yet to master the difference in weight shift and distribution
Which is required of a solo act.
The timing of these visitations serves to disrupt your schedule and sleep patterns,
And you think that perhaps tomorrow you’ll call in.