by Kelly Cherry
The light was off, the room black-dark.
In black-dark, the bedroom filled
with the shapes and selves of those I’d known
when they were living. Slowly they filed
past me—mother, father, brother
and friends, the friends of a lifetime
and others I’d known for the length of a reading
or conference or academic term.
So many gone. They pressed so close
to the bed I thought I might be crushed.
I switched the night lamp on: the room,
as empty as air, was bright and hushed.