Present Tense

My friend on the couch trembles.
She’s crying because someone in her family

has died/is dying/is dead. She has stopped
speaking in future tense and only says, Now.

The clock speaks in abstract sentences
and she says, We need more wine.

A corner of her life is being rebuilt
by a construction company she hasn’t approved.

A corner and her driveway is being paved.
With gravestones. When she cries, I pour her

a glass of minor relief, another glass
of lessen, and still one more of forgetting, a refill

of liquid assistance. There are too many days
to wait, she says. And there are days

when the world’s veil is so thin, she feels God
in the wind between the buildings.

She is almost mourning, but
knows how close we all are

to being remembered. She is haunted
by leaving, by the ones who already left,

all those doorways swinging open.
A breezeway to loss is where we are headed

no matter how hard we drag our feet.
She says she hates that she can’t stop wishing

for all of it to end, though sometimes in the blues
of the curtain, she still sees hope in hospice.