, ,

What was there is no longer there:

Not his touch, not his words: “I prefer you without clothes”

Not the intimacy, legs and arms intertwined with need

Not the pillow talk, eyes searching eyes for meaning

The diagnosis threatens to separate us

We resist. We persist. We don’t give it the power it wants.

At first, we cry. Then we don’t. All is well.

You accept it’s your time. I follow.

You are strong. You imply I am strong. You say, “You’ll be fine ”

I believe it. I go on.

There is much more that is no longer there:

Not your hands that made me dinner and bookshelves

Not your ears that listened on and on and on

Not your mind that challenged mine

Not your heart you gave to me

Not your groundedness

Not your optimism

Not your wisdom

It’s your presence that I miss

It’s the solidness of your presence that I miss

It’s the absence of your presence that calls me in the night


Inspired by Suzan Aizenberg’s presentation, Writing the Elegy, at the Eleventh Hour lecture series, Iowa Summer Writing Festival, Iowa City, IA, July 24, 2019. First line taken from Toi Derricotte’s Elegy for my husband.