the sheer joy;
the way we kept opening the door,
letting the July heat follow us into the cool
fake living room;
the way I slid the poem into his left breast pocket
and then folded my arms
in the kitchen and told the others about it
until everyone wanted to add something:
Lise’s bedside journal during his last days,
Will’s rock collection,
Alison’s poem “Fall Feelings” –
wooden frame and all,
Gracie’s paper creation
that had swirled and caught the light
in his window till the end;
the way the funeral director
came running in, his face
a cold plate and rubbed his unctuous
hands saying stop stop
there will be no more room
for the body; the way we just kept
remembering what we wanted
to send him off with, as when you
run out to the car of someone
who’s pulling out of the driveway
and you mouth wait
wait you forgot this or the way
you lean over the sun-baked
car and motion to roll the window
down once more for just one last hug
as if you were squeezing the last
and forever air between you.
people on the wall-mounted T.V.
smile down on me.
When the pain returns, it is slow, insidious. Intimate, even.
It wants me.
It wants my skin.
It wants my breath.
It enters the red silk lining that runs the length of my torso
and closes its fist.
The nurse covers me in snow
and checks my pulse.