by Matt Fitzgerald
He remembered when they first met—
And how her eyes jumped over to him.
And when he saw beyond them,
And she beyond his,
He slipped his arm into hers.
Then one day she closed her eyes and left time in the dark.
Left him alone again.
Veiled undertakers scanned for the fine edges of grief.
Their eyes engaged with his
And clung to him like spores and were away again
As half-formed thoughts.
He saw them to the door.
They lifted her, close-eyed and steady, into the hearse.
No traffic, no after-traffic smell, no cramped streets, no …
Her coffin was framed by the kitchen window.
Then, in the quiet place, he heard what he always missed:
A fat hairy-bellied bee dancing and dithering on the pane.
He cupped it in his hands and felt its wings, its life, beat against his skin,
Felt its legs—plump with pollen—slip into his old lifelines.
He put it back and it slept for a while and died.
He thumbed his palms and said he was sorry.
The summer stars careened above him
As he made his way to the cemetery,
Sloshing through the cratered mudholes.
A flock of birds rose up before him and down again.
He squatted to her in the early morning gloom.
Then he stretched out and propped one heel over the other
And he thanked her for loving him.