Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sounding the Sea, an Elegy for Donna

My husband scorches me with his skin, so hot
I often turn away and gasp, throw off the covers.  But not
tonight.  Tonight, I cling to him, savoring his heat, the touch
of his body along the length of mine, the reassuring
scent of his flesh.  I think of you, suddenly gone
from the world, from my life, from yourself
and your earthly body, from your grieving husband
and children, and remember how you loved,
so lustfully, so heartily.  How happy you had finally
become, with Terry, with your remodeled home,
with you new lean body, with your life.  Happy.
Pleased with your 900-pound moose, all that food
a year's worth, maybe.  And the next day, your aneurysm
and stroke, your coma.  The waiting.  The agonizing
of family and friends, the hopes rising and falling.  Finally,
the letting go.  The tears.  How intelligent you were,
how funny.  Hilarious.  The stories you told!
You held us spellbound.  Your heart was so big that we all
found a home inside.  You could sound the deepest ocean
with the depth of your caring.  But you turned into a tiger
when your children were threatened.  Attacked evil
with a shovel and a strong arm.  Farm woman, Jill
of all trades, keeper of pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, a cow.
You lived at the edge of the world, the edge of the forest,
the end of the country.  Beyond you, there was nothing,
and now nothing has moved in, leaving a gaping hole.

My husband scorches me with his skin, so hot
I often turn away and gasp, throw off the covers.
I think of Terry, his sorrowing arms empty of you, I think of you,
no longer able to lie beside him, and wonder if angels
remember and enjoy the pleasures of the flesh. 
Oh, how in dreams I turn to love!  How hard the table feels,
bruising my knuckles.  How wet the water, drowning me,
until I wake in terror.  How cold the snow.  How precise
the dreaming mind can be, amidst the flight and the fantastic,
how solid can be flesh, and warm, and hungry. Eager.
Can you feel his arms and ours, do you, out there beyond, dream
of him, of us, as we dream of you?

Mary Stebbins Taitt

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