Death, in whose great jaws are

gripped my dearest love, from

whose teeth dangle yet the shell of

what was once my friend,

leave me not alone in life,

keep me with him who was

my counterweight, my ballast.

Say not your hunger’s satisfied

with that pale shadow of he

who was my comfort, so little of

his mortal frame remains after

your cat games, months of

dangling his death before him

and snatching it away to watch

his brave struggles fade.

And I am faded, too, here

watching at a battle I could

not see, wanting to help but

unable to discern even the

shadows of the enemy, resigned

to a chair by a bed in a

hospital, my only weapon a sterile book

to keep me sane. I will never

forget the titles I read while he

was busy with death. They

are stained on my soul

with shame. There is not

much of me left, my heart

wasted, my soul shriveled. Surely

you must have room for this one

small morsel. The other cannot

possibly be enough, you must

feel as I do, the incompleteness

of the one without the other, of

him without me, though you

taught him to forget, though

you stripped him of his sense and

stripped even from me my sense

when in those last days I couldn’t

recognize his features and could

barely remember the friend. This

grotesque mask left by his disease,

the mockery of his features,

was this a final parting jest? I am

sure you mean to leave me here

alone to face a world that knows

not love and this is incomprehensible.

Turn once, Death, before you go and

look at my eye, so I may

have at least this satisfaction as a

memory. I want to see into the

soul of that which takes my

dearest love.

by Cher Bibler