My Husband Says, “You Will Be Alright.”

Sunlight on the burning bush
outside our bedroom window
over fifty years ago told me
about the ache of endings.

Now each day savored
is a singular world.
I look at him as I did
when we were circling, deciding.

I listen each morning for his breath,
look for the rise and fall of his chest,
am grateful I can scramble eggs,
make blueberry pancakes and coffee.

Our moments of laughter
undress me.
I am naked again
and want to merge with him,

take the whole of him
into me and save him,
the deep movie star voice,
the way he thanks me

for everything,
the way he loves me,
says I am beautiful and strong,
catches my eye, laughs when I do.

My life is measured
not in coffee spoons,
but in meal making:
pasta with shrimp and asparagus,

omelets oozing gouda,
tomatoes from our vines,
roasted chicken
with Michigan cherries and wild rice.

It’s come to this again.
I offer him food like I did my breast to our babies.
I wash his body, brush his hair, apply lotion,
covered him with the quilt his mother made,

and he says in that voice
I love, “Everything will be alright.
You are strong,
but I don’t want to leave you.”

The burning bush is blazing again.
It will be winter soon.
Snow will cover the earth.
And he says it will be alright

without him.

Black and white photograph of Linda Schneider


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