Girlie magazines dating back to 1972 are scattered across the floor.
The skeletons of two pet canaries lie dormant inside a wire cage.
Bessie Mae died 8 months ago.
From her lips, and from her eyes comes nothing like before.
Leroy, her lover and her only friend, the man she lived with for
over 30 years locked her body in their bedroom because he
didn’t want to part from her.
Leroy has no friends to detect anything that might be suspect.
He wants nothing between the two of them at all, and no one
comes near to interfere.
Their bedroom is padlocked, stale, stagnant with mildew, looking
the way it did before she died.
Foul odors ooze up through their bedroom ventilation ducts,
Leroy contends that a dead rat in the basement is causing the odors.
Leroy loves to lie about his sacred love affair.
Layers of dust blanket over the mahogany floors, and the maid doesn’t come
Bessie Mae’s remains are wrapped in a scarlet housecoat,
Dried blood sleeps in a small pool beneath her bed.
In time they both will sleep, sole witnesses to the fiasco
their lives will catch them in; enduring it, holding
their tongues till time matters no more.
Nothing appears changed, lovers unwilling to depart.
Michael Lee Johnson, Chicago, USA