Hungry Ghost

When I came to see you
It hurt me how thin you had become

In the months of addiction & disease
& although your particular abyss

Was a man & not a drug
The degradation was the same

The same wasting of the flesh
The same tapped-out well emptied

Of the least leaf of emotion
The same frozen rage

When I came to your hotel room
You were sitting in a hard chair

Just by the window
Half-slumped & distracted

Looking out at the persistent rain
Then silently back at me

Your ghost your own ghost
Had already come

She sat by you at the small table
& she was so hungry

At one point she reached over
Reached right inside you

& slowly twisted off a moist
Wafer of your heart

She put it in her mouth
& let it sit a moment on her tongue

Her lips parting in a way both
Petulant & suggestive

It was clear she would eat
All of you

I walked into the bathroom
& at the dulled zinc sink

I rinsed one by one
The fat spring strawberries

I’d brought you from the ranch
I put them in the white

Ceramic bowl
I’d carried from our kitchen

& without a word simply placed it
On the table

Just beside your ghost
She stared at me & then only

At the fleshy rubies awaiting her
& ate until only a few

Rivulets of blood traced
The bottom of the bowl & the green

Crowns she’d torn from
Their bodies

Lay scattered where
They had fallen at her feet

At last she seemed sated
Placated or even bored

She barely looked over as
I wrapped you in your overcoat

You glanced at her
& she at you

The rain
Still steady at the pane

& then I realized you could
Not stand

Alone & so I lifted you up
To take you home