Family gone man alone


Family gone man alone
Painting by Vincent Van Gogh

The vanishing landscape, once full of life, the steadfast wife, the half-million-dollar stock portfolio, the gold bullion, the leased Dodge Charger, the older brother dishing out advice along with the barbecued chops, the troubled poet-son in the pokey calling collect, a lifescape full of energy and joy and concern and sorrow.

Gone now, the painting erased from the frame of life by fate, a frame now faint with a barely drawn sketch of solitude — your aged self in a floral armchair, but otherwise there is no one there, they are all dead, unresponsive to prayer.

A cat sleeps in the other armchair where your wife once sat — the cat doesn’t drink or smoke or watch television or ask you to open another bottle— her company is purely a physical presence, another living body in the dead room.

The past has no substance, no reality — the liquor bottle on the table is real, it is made of hard glass, a substantial object in your hand.

Empowered with the strength of the hard spirit you venture into the soft spirit world like a blind man without a cane — you don’t get far, no reception to the brain.

You sink back into the emptiness of the armchair— the cat is still asleep, untroubled, unaware.

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