It is not just the exercise—
that she asks us to imagine
the person we most love in the world—
to be lying dead on a slab in a morgue.
It is not only that she tells us—over
and over, to flesh out the details
of his now lifeless body. Nor is it
the imagined task of having to dress,
for maybe the first, and definitely
the last time— our dearest loved one.
It is not even the idea of the flood of
memories heaving over us, like storm
waves, entwined with the stringy seaweed
of why — why did we not see this coming?
I am fifty years old on our wedding day.
There will be no children.
His boys are young men. Yet, in time,
two grandchildren catch us by surprise.
It is not just the assignment; no—I
have not even begun my unbearable
litany of precious memories and things
I might share, were he really lying there.
No, not yet. This work now comes first—
to fight for our life while we’re both still alive.
© elaine heveron - Aug. 22, 2011