I wash my face in coldest water,
drawn from the well of her absence,
haunted by her warmth,
her felt, bodiless presence…
she’s warm on my back,
shining before me in simple things,
a dense, amber light,
vanishing as I turn to look for her.
She gathers me in,
but my heart drops like a stone.
She takes my hands in her smaller ones.
Her hands are strong;
she’s done hard work.
Our hands have the immediate,
unconscious fit of familiar tools.
Then her eyes crystallize before mine,
warm, clear, impossibly deep –
I have no idea what she sees –
and she grants me the benediction
I will never hear on this earth:
I know you.
My eyes close,
her forehead touches mine,
she takes my face in her hands,
John Wiley started as a ballet dancer and turned to poetry when his knees finally gave out for good. His work has appeared in Terror House Magazine, grand little things, and The Writing Disorder among other publications. He lives in a California beach town, teaches English online, and is the editor of Unpublishable Poetry, a new online magazine coming out soon.