These are his words – weak wilt sorrow soul
My letters could spell – death
attaching to his word – atheist
the horizon, a black storm front
we both sense,
lifting the hair
on the back of my neck.
So I hold off, the small room suddenly thick with heat.
The words keep surfacing, kissing the surface
before slipping back down,
unbidden, not yet.
His words – kite song witty plane
simple, declarative, words he can make
here and now, where once was
love I wait
for this word to surface for him, for me,
it doesn’t matter who.
Instead I could piece together – eulogy
for 29 glorious points,
tumbling and bubbling down
like a spring from – soul
but I am reluctant to pull ahead,
turn eulogy into luge
reckless twisting down an icy tunnel.
He joins gene to luge
Are we speaking in riddles?
as his cancer cells slide so efficiently
through his lymph system.
All I have to offer is never
a triple letter score, 19:
never to slip feet into shoes,
never another snowfall,
nevers are infinite and I withhold again,
letting him choose the verb.
Each time I walk through the door
of my childhood home and turn
towards his room,
I wonder if morphine has yet stolen
all the words,
if this is the way the game will end.
But he has these last few plays to make,
the letters limited as time
clicking like fingerbones
in the night-coloured whiskey sack:
Nothing from me. Then his last silent imperative