Your coffin was pine,
a simple fact.
Gravediggers in overalls
brought sturdy shovels, worn
with use and we
stepped forward one by one:
Heft of the handle in my hand.
A spadeful of earth.
On my last letter to the hospital
I printed crazily, please forward.
I told myself you might be going home,
knew better, if home
is husband, children, life.
Since we'd not talk again
I wanted to send after you
what perhaps endures.
And I am in transition.
Oh, not immediately. I feel health
like a flushed veneer of rosewood
on sober-sided pine. There will be time
to lay these flowers on your grave,
love-death of peony, delphinium
infinities of sky, midsummer-men
for wishes unfulfilled.
"Of earth and starry heaven" you have become
mystery, the breath
beneath the world. No matter how often
I touch the scar still aching
I cannot fear, though for perversity
I try. The rose
opens for me in a continuous
slow motion. Opens in me.