I bought a blue waterproof
mascara that matches the letters
I try to write every night.
I throw out each envelop,
leave my signatures unfinished.

It’s better this way, he says to me
as I toss off another, my head
upon my knees. There is time if,
just for tonight, you’ll stand up
from your desk. Put the pen away.

I take this man’s hand, return to bed.
There is nothing more I can pass on
to my dead, moldering in their graves.
I peer into photos, stepping through
their framed life, out into my own.

They had left behind the same kind
of books I am building today, ones
I will leave to each of the children
I don’t have, the ones who I know
will have to watch me slip away.


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