The Ghost of Her Bones


And again I read the words
(one could almost call them stately)
of a man who was watching
his woman his wife his muse
a poet who could match him
word for word, as she lost
language along with health
because she was moving inward
to meet the death that lived
in bones and blood and would
come to consume her entirely

so he would pick up a pen
whether or not he could face
the page and write it out
the heavy grieving scripted
across page after page
and in the end, when she was
done with her fierce struggle
at last, he was left with sheaves
of poetry that were shaped in
a ghostly paper memory of her

an ongoing love letter caught
between the covers of a small
but mighty book raised in
her honor as one would raise
a memorial to mark a passage
or a great battle recalled for valor
sheer bravery and unyielding
grace under pressure. His fine
poems as elegant as the bones
that betrayed her in the end.

[This was inspired by reading poems by Donald Hall, about the illness and death of his wife and fellow poet, Jane Kenyon]



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