inside me I know is being hollowed out
by each breath of his preparing a nothing
that is so dark and seamless I lose sight
of him being borne away on the currents
of his breathing that inflates into the everything
the nothing wants to be. When he lay there,
shrinking back away from sunset, the nurse said
his fear was common, called "sundowning."
And when he finally settled down, and later sank
into a coma, he began breathing just this way,
breath flowing out, flowing in, while the nothing
moved on the face of everything and God
climbed down into the rising of it.
Tom Sleigh's most recent books are Space Walk, a volume of poetry, and Interview With a Ghost, a collection of essays.
For Slate's poetry submission guidelines, click spacerhereyeshyperlinkPoetry SubmissionsSlate reads new poems from Oct. 1 to April 30. Manuscripts sent between May 1 and Sept. 30 will not be considered.To submit poems: Send, as a single attached document, up to three poems of no more than 50 lines each to firstname.lastname@example.org. Use the poet's name for the subject line of the e-mail and for the title of the attachment. We prefer Word documents (.doc or .docx) to PDFs.Please include a brief, professional cover letter, including publication history, in the body of your email. Please limit submissions to one per poet per annual reading period. Simultaneous submissions are OK. Slate no longer accepts poetry submissions by mail. The email address email@example.com is for poetry submissions only (or to notify editors of acceptance elsewhere of a poem under consideration at Slate). Other inquiries, etc., will not be addressed.10000false220061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM63271989937000000020061444537PMWednesdayJanJanuary161/4/2006 9:45:37 PM632719899370000000.Clickhere to visit Robert Pinsky's Favorite Poem Project site.Click here for an archive of "Poet's Choice" columns from the Washington Post.