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Bill
JJ ( / US)

Bill

I don’t know
what the last days felt like,
how many plates of chicken spaghetti
you had to turn down;
how many times she had to hold your hand,
cry herself to sleep,
prostrate on the floral mattress
while you felt your wrists restricted
by clean, clear IVs
and yellowing fingernails
and blue fingertips
to highlight the lips that
held the same hue;
what it sounded like to hear your breath against
the plastic veil
just one more time.

I don’t know
what your brain told your heart
as it decided, too terminally,
to stop;
what scanned across the blue backs of your eyelids
as the holes in your heart
finally closed, and
what her hot tears, her dark,
coarse hair
must have felt like
brushing against your face
just one more time.

I don’t know
where its place was in the bouquets
that garnished the groaning funeral home—
this brittle, blackened rose your nephew brought me
from our hometown;
or what silent notes the music of memory played in her ears
as the ashes scattered across
your favorite field;
or how many times, feeling the discomfort of the cold folding chair,
she rose alone to whisper at you,
to touch your ghost,
to hold your image perfect
in her mind,
just one more time.

I don’t know
why I was too shaken,
still holding the sweaty black receiver
for hours after the news,
to move toward home again,
to seek the residual reverberations
of a life too vibrant, too abbreviated, to count in years;
or what prevented me
from staying long enough
to lose you,
from waiting long enough
to tell you,
from walking close enough
to smell you alive
just one more time.

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Comments (1)

Profound and moving.My feeble words can not do justice in praise of this outstanding work. Sid.