Dear, I can’t subsist on this diet
(really more of a fast — celery
seed and a soft word every other
month) any longer. Is that blood
on your pillowcase or another girl’s
lipstick? I want you to know
I’ve had such unalloyed joy
over the past several decades,
smelling your hair and petting
your sweat-beaded feet while
you were asleep. It was far sweeter
than I ever thought possible.
But my ancestors are welling up
in me now and keep nudging me
towards the door. Bells are rung,
harps are played: recessional music.
We both know the theater will close
in a few minutes. If you had been
more attentive or a better pretender
I could have run on fumes for a few
more years, sipping snow melt,
remaining quite high on it. Let
the record show I recited prayers
for your perpetual ascension
and good health as I laid this note
in its frozen envelope on your desk
and left, taking both dogs, the teal
parakeet and the black cat with me.
They got custody of our love.
– Amy Gerstler
from American Poetry Review (July-August, 2008)