For Jackie

No one wants to say goodbye
When the music fades to silence
And the last dance is done.
Words of endearment,
Left unsaid,
Linger in the air
Like silent accusations.
I walk home alone,
The eerie quiet broken only
By a random passing train
And the racing of my heart.

Each morning you awakened
By my side,
Dazed and fragile
Rubbing your eyes
With the back of your hands.
You were my “petite chatte pommee,”
Lost little cat.
I was your “grand ours,”
Big, lumbering bear.
We laughed at our reflection
In the bedroom mirror.
“Je peux manger cacahuetes
De ta tete,”
I can eat peanuts
From your head.

We thought the dance
Would last forever
Its rhythms coursing through our veins
As we waltzed from Marakesh to Fiji,
Tobago to Provence,
Traversing caves and canyons,
Deserts and seas,
With consummate ease

But one day the music died.
The haze that lifted from the mountains
Settled on your eyes.
When you stumbled on a wooded path
Pieces of our sweet, shared life
Rained down in brightly colored shards.

The doctor gravely shook his head,
“It would be a miracle
If the tumors disappeared.”

Months later,
Wheelchair bound,
You were still hanging on.
When our hands touched,
In your mind’s eye,
It was a moonlit night
in Tunisia.
The first star had just appeared
Above the desert gorge.
At the waterfall you could hear
The faint sound of an oud
As we began to dance….

(Originally published in Cyclamens and Swords in Israel)



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