Lingering by John Alexis Balaguer
I. I remember—you, watering your orchids—when it rained all day today, all day just letting hours pass, the dripping seemingly louder every time. Even the ceiling’s bleeding. The dog has left for another’s house, well-fed and loved. It seems happier, barks much louder too. I’m afraid it doesn’t recognize me. And the neighbors cut down your bougainvillea, the untamed flowers blocking the road. How you loved its red blossoms. In the garden, the orchids have drooped down to their deaths too. The floral patterns on your favorite duster are the only ones left in bloom. They’ve made it a doormat. I try not to step on it.
ing, a glow millions of years after dying. But the lamps at the terrace tonight where you once told a crying young me ‘Everything will be alright’, is broken. And yet here I am still basking in eternity. I wonder, looking up at that darkness just among a group of bright lies—that nothing that almost looks too dark—tell me, please, that behind that nothing could actually be a newborn star.
II. It is midnight, or the clock has long stopped that way. Who knows what time it is, how long I’ve slept, or if I’ve really slept at all? I just need a little more. Time has been cruel to your house, and you. We used to call this home. Now it’s a cage-- the double-decker, a hospital bed. And all I do is idly lie and stare, figures turning up in the dirty textures: Jesus, hanging, on the wall beside Exupery’s ‘What is essential is invisible to the eye.’, a huge glaring eye by your portrait, and a demon on the wall beside me. All I have of you are thoughts of you. The faces remind me that you’re gone. Looking out the window to a star that probably isn’t even there, I think I just need a little more sleep. I strap myself with the blanket. III. How long has it been, this clutter? This darkness? In every itch, my skin craves more and more for light, waiting for a warmth closest to that of a star’s linger-