She had beautiful hands, I remember
Strong and brown and crude under the choking lamplight
that wintry autumn of the potato blight
I saw them cringe and turn over and over
She thought I’d fallen asleep, but no
I watched her silently in the dark, well past midnight.
Her hair was rich and long, I remember
Coarse and uncombed and tangled on sweaty afternoons
One sweltering midsummer before the monsoons
we crouched in the fields and together worried
Masses of hair spidered across her wet cheeks
Sweat or something else, running down those weathered prunes.
She had eyes like the sea, I remember
Stormy and clouded and murmuring of a shipwrecked sorrow
That spring day the wind swept away the morrow
she stood with her back to me and hung her head
I saw her weak frame jolting and stiffening
and my infant heart was splintered by an invisible arrow.
Her voice was a melody through the reeds, I remember
For fifty years her lips could give only sighs
Unbroken silence shivering beneath frozen skies
Her throat rippled when she looked at my blossoming face
Quivered and quivered in a song of muted melancholy
Then one day away she flew, like a flower, without goodbyes.