The hour passed with me looking for
photographs of my husband that
caught his face in just the right light
and shadow, for a face that needed painting.
I did not find one. I realized instead,
grief humiliates me.
I cannot still myself long enough to
dip brush to water, touch pigment,
lay a wash.
The faces I draw are alien, Barbie, pixie dust...
I realize, the shapes of poems are unbeautiful
The poems I am missing are made of typewriter.
Nothing startles and satisfies me more
than the sharp text of the typewriter,
but it is
Cold stone, cold smooth stone, creek moss
and water. Swimmer. Stay.
You might have been. She.
Of course I would have taught you
to swim. But,
you hadn't liked the water?
The eyes are enormous almonds
devouring the face.
Who would ever want to see
And the nose, oh the nose!
In the book I have borrowed from
the library, where I go as though in
mourning (I am in mourning),
I learn, nothing is exact about the face.
As though in mourning, the book dies
in its covers, the art lost to text.
As though in mourning,
I will never see your face.
Touch the soft bottom of your tiny foot.
Call your name.
You never had any of these things.
I ridicule others and feel genuinely better.
I watch a girl play piano, sing, and run away.
She drags her broken wings behind her, unaware.
I know, I know. And how awful it is to know.
These things happen, the doctor reports.
Normal, normal, everything about it.
I don't want this lesson
I don't want to learn.
My mind closes like a photograph
takes light and shadow from the world
You might have been.
A singer, like your father.
With my lips and his lashes.
And no one's patience, that
would have been your own.
I stood at the sink over the dishes
and followed the lines of bare bows
in the window, all pointing, one direction.
Warm water of soap suds, slips
through fingers, a comfort there in
All night dreams came.
We woke together in the mist of dawn.
My husband dreamed of
a horse that was a bike he rode.
Someone shot the bike out from under him,
it lay there on the ground suffering.
I imagine the limp rubber tires,
the eyes of horses, more lovely
than human's, blinking.
He takes out his gun and shoots
the bike dead.
In the photo we are laughing.
Our mouths are enormous monsters of joy.
These things happen. I say.
Quietly, quietly, almost silent.