killed myself a thousand times
my mind, slicing through the delicate
of flesh at my wrists and neck,
blood seep onto the floor.
the years, that urge has faded,
you have, reduced to a man
photographs and faint memories:
feel of your face as you kissed me,
pale scrabble of
against my cheek. We were old
long I can scarcely remember the firm
of your jaw, the dark hair smoothed back
oil. I see you this way only in dreams,
my mind spools out every nuance
stored over forty years of marriage: your
your speech, the scent of your skin.
cling to sleep, to these images that vanish
I open my eyes. Then, when I’m sure
gone, I force myself to get out of bed.
day is the same struggle, my arms flailing
the weight of all this water. I am saving
daughter, poor girl, who in the beginning
to pull me out with doctors and prescription
who called me every day and wept
her own child weeping in the background.
didn’t understand that I only had breath
you breathed. So, I pulled myself up.
made breakfast, taught classes, balanced
checkbook. Yet even now, after all the
have passed, I still can’t sit in your chair.
catch myself turning to ask what you think.
at night I fall asleep with the phone book,
slim yellow volume from 1981, the last year
everything in life made sense,
that your name was still listed