When my wife was dying
I kept brushing her hair behind her ear
With my fingers.
I saw and remembered that she did not have pierced ears.
She never wore makeup the way women do.
Her breathing was shallow, and it would stop
And then start up again.
Her face was better than my face – soft, and slightly smiling
Like she knew I was going to take her to the bench
In the woods where we would watch the deer come from
The island to get a drink before nightfall.
We held hands our entire lives, hers and mine
With our first child, we had only prepared boy names
And he was a boy.
We had only thought of girl names with our second,
and a girl was born.
That is how everything went, all the time; it was just us.
I look up now at unheard airplanes.
I watch the tiny dots leaving bright, straight lines of clouds in the Stratosphere.
I will never know any of the people inside the airplanes
They do not deviate from their straight lines. They know their destinations
And they fly directly.
I have walked looking
at the superfluous earth.
I whispered to my wife, “I will be with you direct.”