Dominique Spearey

Dominique Spearey

THIRTY NINE

                                      It's been fifteen years -
                                      but she misses him every day.
                                      'Look at this,' she says,
                                      handing us sheets
                                      covered with his writing.
                                      'He was so meticulous.'
                                      Angular, precise letters.
                                      Everything crossed and dotted.
                                      Unable to destroy the evidence,
                                      she shares them out
                                      for us to store, somewhere,
                                      as proof of his virtues.

                                      Their home begins to show its age,
                                      cracks in the fabric of their life together
                                      that no one else can repair.
                                      'I'll never find anyone like your Dad.'

                                      The world outside shrinks.
                                      She stays inside,
                                      her memories growing
                                      to fill the spaces of her life
                                      now huge without him.

                                      Painfully she sorts through photos,
                                      keeping the ones that define their happiness.

                                      'I was a good wife,' she says.

                                      His birthday, their wedding anniversary,
                                      dates that are her only fixed points,
                                      markers in her bleak landscape of loss.

                                      His ashes had been placed
                                      in the same plot as his father's.
                                      The field sloped,
                                      was prone to flooding,
                                      mud frequently covering the marble.
                                      She could not bear this disrespect.
                                      We moved them
                                      the second burial more painful than the first.

                                      Standing near a young tree,
                                      we freed my grandfather's ashes,
                                      watching the grey flakes
                                      find their pattern on the grass.

                                      My father's ashes were walled up safe and tight.
                                      Uneasy, I watched my mother
                                      place his old fishing hat
                                      and a family photo beside the urn.
                                      'To keep him company until I join him.'
                                      Ashes are all she has to cling to.

                                      We cannot utter platitudes.
                                      Time has not healed the pain
                                      or softened the loss.

                                      'I've come to the end of my time here,'
                                      she says.
                                      'I want to join him
                                      because he's missing me.'

                                      Who are we
                                      to disagree?


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