The Suicide

didn't thank
didn't wave goodbye
didn't flutter the air with kisses
a mound of gifts unwrapped
bed unmade
no appetite

always elsewhere

though it was raining elsewhere
though strangers peopled the streets
though we at home slaved and
baked and wept and
hung ornaments
and perfumed the dark
did he marvel
did he thank

was he grateful did he know
was he human
was he there

always elsewhere:
didn't thank
didn't kiss
toothbrush stiffened with unuse
puppy whining in the hall
car battery dead
sweaters unraveled

was that human?

Went where?

by Joyce Carol Oates

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