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.