A New Beginning

is what we hoped for

that day in the hospital when the massage

therapist gave him a comforting shoulder rub—

that day when we did not yet know.

 

His hair had grown to brush the collar of

his hospital gown, and I remember tugging

at those curls, loving the thick white waves

that flowed from brow to nape.

 

He didn’t want the haircut on the menu

of services. Perhaps, somehow, he sensed

what was to come. We thought that we had

promises to keep, although we all must walk

 

the long good-bye. I’ve heard that both

the one who goes and the one who follows

must find the portal to a new beginning.

I loved him into death and then beyond.

 

Love is a long hello. An aging widow in my

grief group who dares to say she wants to

love again, who always brings her bottle of

non-alcoholic wine to the communal supper

 

after meeting, raises her glass to desire

although sometimes she grows silent,

gazing into the unmapped landscape of

the white tablecloth.

 

Penny Harter  lives in the southern New Jersey shore area. Author of many published collections of poetry, along with ongoing and frequent journal publications of her work, she writes to celebrate the natural world and the miracle of our being here at all!  Her writing has also helped her survive the loss of her parents and husband, as well as her more recent journey through cancer and successful chemotherapy.

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