When you tell me that your father died last week, you wrap it
in between a Merry Christmas, and apologies for the delay.
It is a systematic calculation: four lines, sandwich-stacked and
pressed. You are careful not to let it breathe too wide. I remember
asking Death to come inside. The first time, he was careful
not to wake the house, knocked his marble knuckles only
on my window. All I wanted was to crawl back into bed — hazy
like a toddler after napping on the sofa. The second time,
he made a point of nail screeching, car alarm howling,
racket-and-bang smashing every pot onto the cold white tiles.
Long after he has gone, my ears are still ringing and I still scrub grief
off the kitchen floors. Even after all his visits, people still pretend
Death is elegant and floats with purpose. He is neither
and both. What I am saying is, I wanted to prepare you for the visit.
In the morning, on autopilot, you will fold your father’s suits with the precision of a pastry chef, filo dough and dust, pile and stack the bags
along the corridor. I want Vienna to leave you undisturbed
inside your perfect loop, your factory worker coma. In the afternoon,
a stray alarm will jolt you into thinking you don’t know what day it is.
It is a Thursday, and Death is pruning all the tree suckers.