Messenger II

(The Surgery)
November 2002

Turning from the furnace, face flickering,
she asks if you're sure you want to do this,

and you whisper,

which is when her sadness reaches you,
rolling slow behind the question, like thunder,

and you know
you've misunderstood

She takes your shoulder gently, draws you close:
breath on your lips,
fingertips tracing down your windpipe,
dancing above your breastbone
where they stop, and tense,
and push—

Then hold still, she says,
hold very very still

-- November 2002, June 2007, June 2012