April 6, 2008

The Husband Tries to Write to the Disappearing Wife by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Posted in poetry tagged , at 9:15 pm by placeinthestars

The Husband Tries to Write to the Disappearing Wife

I could have kept you
in the palm of my hand,
but you weren’t ready.

I know I have lost
your body, dissolved into
particles, swirling

like birdsong. I should
have known when I started
sweeping twigs and bits

of fur and feather
off our floors, when our baby
liked nothing better

than chewing beetles.
Our bargain was never strong
as straw, as autumn’s

last light, easily
shattered. Why is it I want
to carve you into

my palm, from pain
into memory, that I sit
up night after night

recreating—first,
the moon and moth, the white shrine—
your eyes, too bright

to be human. The songs
I write start with your hair but
end with your heart.

No poetry seems right
without your crooked smile.
Without the scrape

of your sharp teeth
against my lips, there is
no word for kiss.

~Jeannine Hall Gailey

***

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