His jacket hangs in the closet,
on his side of the walk-in
among his shirts and suits and neckties. 

His clothes hang there
respectfully unpacked and organized
yet empty and unworn,
as if he could walk in anytime and put them on.
But that’s not how death works.

The last breath is

After watching him dress
and undress
and dress
and undress,
The time we posed in the mirror together, laughing,
American Gothic in the nude.
I wish the clothes in the walk-in
walk out
by themselves
so I wouldn’t have to touch them
and allow them to touch me
with overwhelming grief.

Dust to dust, ashes to ashes.
From Goodwill they came,
And to Goodwill they will return.
Except for his jacket.
Inside the black leather jacket
Where I dive in
face first

To inhale the absence of his presence
one more time

Syril Levin Kline is an educator, journalist, theater director, and performer who believes that challenging academic orthodoxy can lead to new insights and discoveries that enhance all fields of learning.  She believes that writers create within the context of their experience, and that by helping students connect an author with his or her work, we can enable them to see relationships between their own learning, thinking and writing.