When she told me, the words slipped
out the back door of her mouth:
I wish I had heard them in Greek or Arabic,
so I wouldn’t be able to understand
Every decision of reckless abandon,
even 90 on the Turnpike
suddenly seems safer
next to this swab and scrape of mortality.
I imagine it
nestling in blankets of tissue and mucus
while we wrote to each other
on unlined journal paper
between the hours and days
of opening mail, making reservations,
sleeping late on a Sunday morning–
This is a map of our time apart.
These are moments it spent growing,
in the place that only I touch her.
fiction poetry "fact" photography