Decomposition (Edited)

I could get a dog, she said, as she stuffed his worn clothes into bin-bags.

But if I got a dog I’d have to stay, and I don’t know if I can.

He’d worn the old coat so many winters, she should have it cleaned, but she put it in the bag. No use now.

She took the coat out of the bag and wore it to go out. Later, deciding that it didn’t help to see the green shoots pushing through the late snow she stayed in.

Take more time, her supervisor said. You’re not coping, is what she heard as she tugged at the frayed cuffs of the jumper he’d bought her.


It’s silent here, but the CDs were his too, so she places them in the bag and it rips and spills his life down the wooden stairs. Finally she weeps over the coat he won’t wear next year.

Couldn’t they have made life more robust, so a tiny rip in a vein in his brain didn’t scatter her life in pieces too? Why couldn’t that be darned like his clothes?

Something stinks in the kitchen, but she can’t care enough to track it down. It’s been there for days and in days it will be gone, decomposing as she sits on the stairs. Methane and sulphides release, a return to the infinite instant.

In weeks, or maybe months, he’ll be nothing more than bone, and she can feel her flesh begin to bloat in sympathy.

I could sit here, she says, and I could join him. If I sit still, how close can I get to being dead?



Sit still.

Breath slow.

Feel the wood through skin, fat, muscle, bone.

Hold the pain until it’s nothing

Wait until neurones slow, stay, stop.

Be numb.


Frost bites unwise green spikes this night, and there isn’t a dog, and his life is still scattered and she’s drifting somewhere above the village, over the river.

Loose ice flows downstream, and she follows it out to sea,

and somewhere on the passage south the ice melts

and she’s gone.