Touchstone

 -for Garnet Rogers

You say love is all that matters,
and holding someone near
turns blue walls into a bright sky,
fills the room with sounds of water falling
into the deep mineral spring
that slips through your hands

I say grace is your testimony,
it’s the way you’ve outlived grief, escaped
the black wings that fell
from the sky and pinned you to burning ground
it’s the silence you offer up
between words

Now you’re surrounded by laughter,
and the spot light
your voice is full of earth and dusk,
the clouds you breathed at sunset,
shimmer of brake lights you followed to arrive here,
stars you’ve mapped, in their home above the trees.

On the day you’re due home, your wife lights a lamp
and even though candles burn out, the wax stays warm –
sure sign you’re nearly there
Maybe she puts her hand on your pillow,
finds strands of red-gold hair,
thinks of you
parked on a roadside, resting
beneath trees, listening to tiny voices of leaves
and traffic sounds

I promise you that wherever you sleep, whatever you dream,
there will be no more than this –
you will be given nothing else
You have love, all that is.

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