The way years of repetition give a dancer
jointless grace, she hoists the bed sheet
making of it flawless convexity. From the window
a thrust of air laced with the opiates of late summer
huddles beneath: loosening sap, pollen teamed and shifting
making corporeal the air as schools of minnow
do the sea. In that vacant moment
as the sheet exhales

she lets herself forget. The last year, when the anxieties
bound to health metastasized into acceptance.
And further: cancer found at sixty-five, then rooted out
like a heretic from the once peaceful township
of his body; the stroke that left his brain
an anemone softly tousled by
surrounding currents –all muted
in the cradle of domestic resolve.

But as the fabric, fully winded, settles in
sketching the eroded topography of the
husband of fifty-nine years, who once daily
scared her with his anger, who now breaks her
heart with lightness of his arm she must lift
to tuck him in

the present reasserts in bolder strokes
than before, in deeper, less forgiving
blacks. Punishment, she thinks,
for allowing this moment
of unalloyed