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I watch you walk up our front path,
the entire right side of your body,
stiff and unbending, your leg,
dragging on the ground,
your arm not moving.
Six different times you ask me
the date of our daughter's wedding,
seem surprised each time,
forget who called, though you can name
obscure desert animals,
and every detail of events
that took place in 3 B.C.
You complain now of pain
in your muscles, of swimming at the Y
where a 76 year old man tells you
you swim too slowly.
I imagine a world in which
you cannot move.
Most days, I force myself to look
only into the past;
remember you, singing
and playing your guitar: "Black,
black is the color of my true love's hair,"
you sang, and each time you came into a room
how my love for you caught in my throat,
how handsome you were, how strong
and muscular, how the sun
lit your blond hair.
Now I pretend not to notice
the trouble you have buttoning
your shirt, and yes, I am terrified
and no, I cannot tell you.
The future is a murky lake.
I am afraid of the monsters
who wait just below its surface.
Even in our mahogany bed, I am not safe.
Each day, I swim toward
everything I didn't want to know.
Copyright © 1997 by Maria Mazziotti Gillan, all rights reserved.
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