The Contained Man Poem by Robert W.Quilter

The Contained Man

a man is sitting on a bed
the body of a woman is beneath the covers,
she is or rather was, my mother

the contained man
he is wearling a garish copper suit

the man has been in the room for some twenty-two hours, minus
bathroom breaks
yesterday, he woke, as usual, most weekdays, at six am
he saw the mortal change as soon as he glanced back at
my mother, just as his feet had found his slippers
he rocked her shoulder, touched her lips, but her skin was cool as clay

he will tell me he sat then, in a chair across from her
he never cried.he thought, he will say
he doesn't know for how long, but finally he stood again and
began to tidy obsessively

he put books back on the shelf, he hung up clothes and
then made the bed around, pulling the sheets tight, folding
the spread down evenly, before laying her hands out like
a doll's

it was a day before he realises he must contact me
he sends a one-line e-mail to his employer saying he would not be at work

'but how can she be dead? '
she was fine two nights ago, when i called her from home

it was her heart, he will say, the contained had to be her heart.
and her blood pressure.your Aunt Viv died the same way

i will pass my mother's bathroom and see a police officer standing
slack-jawed before the open medicine cabinet, a pen and pad in his hand

the contained man tells the story again and again, always the same way

what was there to think about, all that time? one officer would say
life, he will answer, marriage, her
he will answer every question in his contained manner
he will tell them how he moved each item
he will tell them how he spent each hour

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