Her Hands

We’re basically alone in this life, she said,
then turned in silhouette,
streetlights streaking the window like frost.
A velvety breeze lifted the curtains
as I reached across the table.
She drew back slightly, then relaxed,
entwining her hand into mine.

I do, she said.
A warm breeze lifted the veil,
her eyes fixed and solemn:
a glider at the precipice,
a diver entering depths.
I took her hand and
placed the gold band on her finger.

It makes me feel helpless, she said,
her hand on the feverish forehead
of our daughter,
Her gesture froze the moment,
a tableau of the ages.
I know what you mean, I said,
then laid my hand on hers.

She stood at the ship’s stern,
its great wake illuminated by sunset.
Wind lifted her grey-tinged hair,
unfurling it like prayer flags.
I’m grateful to voyage with you, she said,
releasing her hands from the railing,
now spotted, mapped with wrinkles,
and lifting them to caress my face.
I love you…

Her hoarse breathing
filled the hospital room.
A few hours at most, the doctor had said.
But remember that hearing
is the last sense to die.
I traced the curve of her cheek
with my fingers,
lingering there as if
willing her to respond.
I took her hand, squeezed it gently,
then bent to her ear and whispered,
You are not alone.

2 thoughts on “Her Hands

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