January Elegy #2

When I wrote January Elegy yesterday, I imagined that I could write an elegy once a month for a year, which means I will already have missed 6. I could reconstruct them. But those earlier months had a rawness to them I can’t reproduce. The pain is not the same. My thoughts don’t loop around the what ifs of different medical and personal decisions. I still rehearse hemorrhage in my mind but it’s not as gritty as it was before. Then I thought, as I sat in bed last night, that I could write an elegy every day based on small things and that felt right, low stakes.  

Last night I woke up and the light was on in the center room downstairs, the room you used as a study. I could see the light coming through the floor. I found that strange. I didn’t remember leaving it on. I felt afraid, thought about the doors and whether I had checked the locks. Could someone have come into the house? Would someone have come into the house just to turn on that light? I thought of you and wondered if your ghost could have come and turned on the light and lingered in that room where you used to sit and work on photographs. I write – could have come – as if your ghost has been somewhere else and decided to drop by. But the thing about ghosts is they stay in a place, right? Isn’t this how haunting works? I got up and went downstairs naked and turned off the light. When I got up this morning the light was on again and I felt shocked because I suddenly remembered clearly walking through the room in the dark the night before so the first instance I knew could not have been caused by me. And definitely not the second instance. Then I realized what happened. The cat tree was in front of the light switches. Fig jumping onto the upper platform put pressure on the switch and turned the light on. I did it. The light went on. It was not you.

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