Toward the end he put his past
into a jar and closed it tight.
Put his drama and affection
away in glass reasoning that
if it fell and broke
from his aged clumsiness
it would get everywhere and
he might cut himself on it,
so best to tuck it far away
in the back of a corner cabinet
in his basement, a brokedown box
of shelves left by the former owner,
Now that he was free of that
he could sit all day and not do
a damn thing. Not even
barely breathe. Not hang out
with friends. Maybe once in a while
touch a cat, pick his skin. He did not
imagine anything. Mice ran around his feet
and edged closer to climbing all over him.
It became clear that he didn’t care.
His flesh hardened
to gray wood. His eyes
marbled into dull stone.
Got in and out of bed
like a log rolled off a truck
until the day he saw no reason
to get out of bed and stopped.
The jar in his basement
might still be there. If you can find it
among all the jars of old nails
and slips of folded paper
holding dried tomato seeds
kept for a spring that didn’t came,
if you can find it among the spiders,
please discard it as you are all the rest
as that was how
he would have wanted it
if he could have remembered
what wanting was.