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.