He sits alone in the room,
The 1000 Days thick in his lap,
still in his robe
though it is afternoon.
Behind him through the sliding glass doors
the green of the garden
has become a jungle
since they are all gone.
A son
In his black Ford convertible,
Eyes bright as ebony in the sun
now closed in self-inflicted death
these twenty years and more.
Daughters, twins
one dark, the other blonde
gone with their men
to the north, the west.
His wife silent now,
who used to sing
in this same room
with the Met on the radio
Puccini, Verdi,
the verdant garden
lively with vanished children.
He turns a page
and the air is filled
with voices as quiet
as the years gathered
in the cupboards of his kitchen.
One Thousand Days.
One cough.
He crosses the other knee.
The pages talk to him.
The phone rings
Once a week.
The professor
is alone,
his mind is full
of voices,
formulas, footfalls
in the corridors of Rollins,
the wind of other hurricanes.
Tiger lilies prowl the garden wall.

Poem dated 23 April 1999, found in Patrick’s Dropbox account.