Your Way

Not one for theory,
you responded with delight
to forms of beauty:

wet cobblestones in
Bath, the honeyed air of Rome,
the cat’s deep purr as

you groomed her. You — you
had a way with dumb creatures.
Your own beauty left

me speechless — base re-
ponse for a theorist who
craves shadowless light.

You Not

So your death, sweetheart,
has got me thinking. “Zero,”
I say, meaning what?

Bottom, abyss, my
inability to see
anything in it.

Like a sinner in
Dante’s hell, scratching the itch
of my own most self.

That kind of thing. You
no longer need to put up
with me, lucky you.

Being shattered is
not decisive, but asks for
a distinction

I’ve read that before.
You must decide! No, not you,
me. I get that now.

You and Rain

It’s dark at noon, rain
on the way. You so loved rain.
You died at the end

of a hot spell. Rain
helps me feel I’ve passed zero
somehow. God is good,

which you did not be-
lieve. Maybe you woke up in
a rainstorm, happy.

Your Clouds

The only certain
thing is death, simple ones say.
Not for us doubled

by love. Widowers
sunk in their own immanence
are one thing. For us,

the conversation
keeps starting over, the clouds
you loved to show me.

Your Signs

On the bad days, love,
my love for you is the love
I have for, say, Swir,

Szymborska, Fiedor-
czuk — poets I can love only
in translation. Love

is what I feel for
their signs on the page and your
signs in my blank heart.

Your Breakfasts

You made breakfasts to
die for before or after
sex and explained that

the root of taste is
memory. (I was your third
husband and the last.)

Now scrambling some eggs
my memory floods with joy
cracking them open.

You, Fighter

A miracle of
timing, your death. I’ve got to
hand it to you. No

grimace, rictus. You
must have known you’d pulled it off.
Serenity if

not bliss. First your notes
to me became hard to read,
then your speech failed. Curse

the darkness! You fell
silent. A hospice nurse touched
you. “Hi,” she said, and

I think you said, “Hi.”
That was it. You’d fought the good
fight. No more fighting.