To Jen, Who Died This Winter
I don't know if you can see them,
your husband and your best friend,
standing there before the fire.
See how she leans into him—the way her hip fits
like a rib clicked back into place.
I elbow my husband as if I want back
inside, too. Or maybe, I want to yank
another rib out. Shake it.
Demand the room take notice.
How I'd want him to wear a black
armband, until it grew slack,
like the gold on his finger, twisted
in grief until it grooved a hollow
to the bone. I know you'd get this
like an inside joke. You, who everyone
knew had a wicked sense of humor.
I'd hope he'd wait, at least,
until the furnace had cooled before
scattering his need so close to home.
If I were you, I'd pull myself back,
flake by ashy flake, even if only
long enough to give my own blessing.
I'd look them both in the eyes,
my husband, my best friend,
then rise up and dash myself
over their firelit forms
like a handful of darkened rice.
First appeared in The
DMQ Review, August 2002
P. J. Taylor ©2002