Save yourself, they said

I think the end is nearing now.
This is how I’ve seen so many die:
staring at a wall, rage behind their eyes,
rigid jaws, grinding teeth,
emaciated arms so tightly clenched.
Or slumped asleep, rag dolls
flung into chairs.

They told me you don’t know me
anymore.  I wasn’t sure.
Save yourself, they said.

I watched a husband love his wife
too much.  At her side when I arrived,
beside her when I left.   He tried
to comfort, tried to talk;
she sat and stared.  He shriveled
by the season—died last year.
I don’t think she knows.

Get a life, they said. 
I told them not to worry.  Though
I didn’t plan to fall in love again.
Didn’t know I could.  Didn’t know
the sun could leap into the east
again.  Didn’t know I could.
I can

             until I step into your room.
Until I try to leave a gentle touch,
a tender word before I go—it’s no use.
My words are only wind;
a touch is but a nudge.
They fall into the gulf between us.

I’m told I’m talking in my sleep.


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