diana lynn

On learning of my first husband’s death


 Sitting in darkness  

I drag and drop your small obituary photo

            onto the glowing screen

then click and zoom

            click and zoom 

            again and again 

            over and over 

watching your smile enlarge 

and disappear into a crazy quilt of half-inch pixels

pink, yellow and brown squares

revealing nothing, 


until, thank god, 

            I can no longer 

            see you.


I close my eyes and there we are,

I nineteen, you twenty-two, 

lying side by side

on the grassy knoll back of campus

eating the first bread I ever baked

and you say, taking my hand,

'we will be alright'

and your voice echoes

            ‘be alright’

            ‘be alright’

            again and again

            over and over 

fading across the empty valley

between hope and what’s real,


until, thank god, 

            I can no longer 

            hear you.


I open my eyes

and grit my teeth 

with the quick anger 

of remembered betrayal,

about how we’d stumble 

back to our tiny rooms, 

            again and again, 

            over and over,

in the dim morning hour of the wolf,

teetering along an unknown edge, 

tightrope walking across premature sorrows,  

            you fearing

            a young death

yet longing for the end,

dragging me close behind you.


Now fifty years gone,

I lean in close 

whispering to the screen, 

‘Fool, wasteful fool!’

            until, thank god, 

            I can no longer 

            feel you.



Let it go. It’s time.





                     again and again 

            slowly in 

            slower out

            over and over…


We met too soon

            instead of now

when we might hold one another 

with wisdom and understanding. 


I can almost see you,

            hear you

            feel you 


            even love you, 

            from this safe distance

            with you now buried, 

tucked away

inside your handsome 

but small 



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