I thought it was over before
when a tumor the size of a fist
rose up in my chest, dead center.

I walked out on the porch and wept,
not for where I was going. 
I didn’t care.  But
for what I was leaving
undone, for love withheld
out of stubbornness or doubt,
for every untouched spring
and unwept tear.
Well, it still isn’t done.

But on summer nights I sometimes sit
alone by the open window
in an old yellow chair,
its left front leg chewed down
by a dog, a Labrador Retriever,
mostly Lab anyhow,
and a damn fine dog at that. 

After fifteen years
she knew me better than
I knew myself, I guess,
though that may not be so, but loved me
better than I loved her,
and I loved her a lot.
And so now is that done?

Well, it still isn’t clear,
but every now and then a car
comes past on the gravel
road that runs out from town,
and it sounds familiar,
like it’s turning,
maybe up the drive,
but it doesn’t.  And I wonder
about the crickets, why they
always sound so loud
just afterward,
and the night air filling
the juniper branches
so silent and still
till my head goes
completely empty
and I still can’t see
where it ends.

Hear it:



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