You Heron

The boat being out,
we’d smoke and drink on the dock
empty at sundown.

We felt the presence
of the shy night heron on
a rock shelf below,

watching the water
in the shadows. Then the stars.
And we were shadows.

The great bird would croak.
A voice from the underworld?
No, no. Fellow crea-

ture, it withdrew with
the return of the tour boat,
all lights and laughter.

You Catnip

We had two cats. One,
a tuxedo, you rescued
in Providence. We

named him Horace. He
had a long Twitter career.

you were when he died.
Though a cat, he cared for you
faithfully, you’d say.

The second survives
you. I envied how she dared
to nibble your toes

while you were sleeping.
You had adorable toes, not
to mention ankles

and legs and yes the
most beautiful bush which you
taught me how to love.

You Me

In your quiet voice
(you loathed shouting) you’d tell me
of all the places

you’d been — Vienna,
Berlin, Stockholm, Edinburgh,
Rome — by yourself or

with other men. So,
why me? For whom movement is
between dimensions

of thought? You never
answered. Opposites attract,
the mix nothing to

stand on. But under-
standing grew between us and
that was good enough.

You Still

Dawn chilly and bright.
My feet hit the floor and it’s
surprisingly cold.

October sunlight —
plentiful and yet burnished
with desolation.

The cat jumps up on
the bed. To her your absence
just doesn’t make sense.

Self is not enough.
I’ll take the presence of ab-
sence over nothing.

This poverty goes
with love’s territory where
love is born again.

You Stick

Without beliefs ex-
cept in the necessity
of loving others

you made do with good
actions. Early in our court-
ship I made you a

walking stick. Stripping
the bark, I exposed the twist-
ed radiant grain.

Later when we went
places you’d sit and watch for
people who used sticks.

A counting game! Your
face lit up like the sky bright
with traveling clouds.

You made a festive
thing out of willingness to
wave your stick at it.

You Miracle

For all our love of
words, we often disagreed,
making things of words.

A miracle is
not a thing, more like a word
spoken by beauty.

I’d have to say you
were a miracle, but not
to you, for whom words

like miracle caused
little seizures in your brain.
We loved in silence.

You Yes

First there is the birth
shout, inarticulate “yes”
in and of being.

But the wedding “yes”
means “I do” — a second “yes”
when you could say “no.”

I was surprised you
would say “yes” to life with me
after saying “no”

so often making
it stick but on a clear cold
day in New England

you looked me in the
eye and said “yes” so sweetly
it still shakes me up.