He drank his booze and climbed the metal ladder
(they always argued savagely, those two).
The roof, his own nirvana—made her madder
when he escaped, inventing jobs to do.
I often thought an ambulance was in
the cards, because of their unearthly shouts.
I wondered if their love had ever been
alive, or if their crazy, violent bouts
had killed it off—until the illness came.
It took away her speech, she couldn’t walk
or feed herself. He hovered near, became
a different man, who whispered loving talk
into her ears; and never left her side
but once. (He went up on the roof and cried.)
I read through my old diary tonight.
Inside a sweater drawer is where I found
it—tattered travel log. It had a slight
tear on the spine, but still was neatly bound.
I read my thoughts on some far distant night,
stone turrets wrapped in ivy, summer-crowned
green willow trees with soft Parisian light
across the way. My memory swirled around
each consecrated word, until your name
appeared, a shining brilliance so profound
it burnt the yellowed page with quiet flame.