By Lorraine Walker Williams
Southwest Florida Branch
Dying is the art we have to master. It seems to say—not death;
Late love settles into us as spring romances never could.
—Exhibition Notes SFMOMA
A full moon slips from dark clouds
to break night from its grip
like a last breath, a gasp and release.
Death is a trickster, a tease,
imminent, then it pulls back,
fills a corner of the room
ready to consume what’s left
after last words are spoken.
When I learned that you had died,
death consumed me. I became still,
sat with it, staring into the room,
blinded by sorrow. This surprised me.
Surrounded by reminders of our life together,
I remembered our first conversation about touch,
the need for connection when you live alone.
I wanted to touch what had meaning for us;
a map of early San Francisco, the reclaimed
table we chose for our First Anniversary,
the framed painting above the bed.
I did not shed a tear until my fingers slid along
the glass hummingbirds; one found in Aspen,
the other your Valentine gift, saying the bird
needed a mate. Tears streaked my cheeks,
This morning, in fading moonlight, tears brim,
shedding into the black hole of absence as I write.
So, I wrap myself in the shawl of memory,
settling into the loss of late life love.
I can’t shake the feeling you are gone.