And in the night I plotted how I’d cheat dark death

take you away in covered car, a change of names,

no english, spanish, all that made us known

hidden away, hidden away, until all danger past

we could return again to live just one more day,

just one more blessed day


hour followed hour; I breathed breath after breath

with you, cleaned spit away and fed you pieces

of the sweetest apricot and watched you chew and swallow,

and made up healing teas and fed you drop by drop and kissed

your brow and cooled your sweating head and kissed and kissed

and prayed, and pleaded and cajoled,

and called upon this power of heav’n and that

and sang and kissed, was strong and weak


you’d given me permission that dark night

when I lay down upon your hospital bed

to sob, to cry, you’d with great difficulty

and with waning strength

put down my head upon your loved emaciated arm

and kissed my hair, and said your heart was breaking

because there were yet so many things

we had to share,

so many sunsets, morning birdsong, love and love and love

in autumn winter spring


and now this summer day

your precious body cooling on our marriage bed

covered in marriage quilt

covered in marriage tears

in jagged widow’s tears


oh what a dreaded word, this widow’s name

now widowed

where I once was bride,

how will I sleep or smile or look with favor

on a sun that dares to shine

how will I live without your breath

on mine


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