I wasn't kin. No one called me, brought
Me chocolate cake. No one sent me telegrams
Or delicate bouquets of Japanese Iris or Freesia --
No one at church reached from the pew behind
To hug me, or sandwiched my hand --
Not even the minister in the doorway --
No neighbor slowed her car beside my dog & me
To say she'd read it in the paper & was so sorry.
But that night, after I had burrowed like a mole
Into my wide, white bed and somehow tucked
My warm-wine comforter around myself
So that it felt like arms -- Suddenly your voice,
Retrieved without my trying, said -- What?
Nothing important. Nothing I can even remember.
Yet it lulled my crying. I slept. At daybreak
I recalled that sound, low and melodious. So!
It was that compelling voice I allowed to make me
Forget, always, your rocks I'd foundered on
Soon after our meeting -- That led me
To tear my sides again, only this Autumn.
I was just beginning to heal when you died.
Mary Lamb Freeman
MARY LAMB FREEMAN lives in Amherst.