Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Leave the light on for me

We talk about our death way before it's necessary.
Once when we are newly wed, he whispers
 I want to go first--I must never live without you. 

I feel shame; I do not want to go first. 
Do not want to go at all, not ever. 
So I take his hand in mine and joke:
Ok but leave the light on for me!

Even a jest makes me shiver. 

I am overcome by this man but not 
because he cannot live without me.
I am overcome because he can bear his death. 

Later when he is sick and looking down 
into the grave, he only cries once and it is brief. 
After that he is ready. 
He is calm, waiting to be taken. 
Waiting as if for an airport limo.

Saturday, August 13, 2016


For a long time, I do not open 
his closet door. 
But today is different, today 
I do. 
Today as if it were just a closet, 
I turn the knob 
as if it were a small dark room 
for storage
not a passageway. 
Today I open it prepared 
to face his lumber shirt, 
his jeans, his brown leather boots.
Today I am not prepared to see him 
in a flash of light
that makes his hair glow
like a halo. 
How tall he seems, how straight,  
how unbent 
just like before, 
but silent, so silent
as never before, 
how he seems to float
on a sky above a sky. 

Saturday, August 6, 2016


Sometimes I need proof that he once was 
-- can't trust my mind, it's made up things before. 

sometimes I close my eyes just to to see him, 
just to peak at him again
dozing in the chair 
on the inside of my lids, just to see 
him folding clothes,
just to see him stirring 
meatball soup--he looks good in his bones--
just to see him, sometimes, just to see him 
flossing while we watch the evening news, 
just to see him like that again.

And then the whole world stops, 
the whole world shatters into bits of glass 
right there behind my eyes, 
the whole world bursts 
and I am melting at the knees
inside a hale of this confetti.


have never seen a ghost
nor known anyone who's seen a ghost. 

I wish to see a ghost to prove there’s more 
to life than what we measure. 

What I have seen is the dead. 
I have seen a taut face dusted with flour 
and dense as stone.

But if I could see a ghost, I would overcome my dread
and speak, not knowing what to expect from a ghost. 

I would ask about God of course and karma, 
about all this suffering.

I would ask about feelings,
I would ask, are there feelings Man hasn't felt?  

But first, first I would ask about him. 


Where in the world might I go now 
that I can go anywhere ? 

Drop a coin on the atlas and tell me 
where it lands: there I could go.

I can go anywhere now. 

But my own nature is here  
where the sky shivers in fog 
and the sun glows silver 

and the effect is mystic.

I could go anywhere now 
but I will stay by the bay, by this ocean, 
by these mountains--by all this

unfair share of beauty.

I could go anywhere but 
here lights blink from cities,
leap from the ocean foam, 

from the kindred faces. 

I could go anywhere but some nights 
I can't sleep missing him, 
missing all the lost days that drip 
from memory, so many they could 
form a deep lake.

So I will stay here with these drops.

Even though the days are flying fast as birds 
escaping from their cage, even though 
slowing them is so beyond prayer,  

I stay anchored in their mist. 

I could go anywhere but here I wouldn't 
move a cloud 
or change a scent--the marsh salt's alright with me-- 
as is every color, every pattern, every rumble 
on the street, 
every scene a little treat.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Avert your eyes

when they open the door 
keep your arms to your side. 
keep your face clear.
keep silent. 

when you stand by his bed
don't ask what was done, why his teeth are blue, 
don't wonder where his blood went, 
why his cheeks look so defeated. 

stifle your cry 
when you look at his hands,
when you see your gold ring, 
just look once, look hard, 
then look away. 

don't take this day with you. 
leave it there. 
remember how it was to hold this man.
let that fall on you like snow
let it turn in you as winter. 


I always knew where to go 
and where I had to be.
I knew north, I knew 
north and north knew me. 

North was always waiting 
for my call, was glancing at the clock 
up on the wall.

North was always waiting,
always thinking, where 
where where could she be?
Was thinking she was due 
and I knew it too. 

I knew it too when 
it was time to go 
and I knew where to go 
and I knew what I knew 
was true.

No more of that now. 
no north I mean, 
no stalwart point of light 
to hold me fast,
no knowing that, 
no knowing all I knew.

But I do not travel blind now, 
I move from here to there. 
I know where to go 
and where I have to be. 

I know it all from memory.