You come at night to say you’re leaving,
have dreamed of freedom for so long.
and more, you love another—old familiar song.
I call for Mother in my grieving,
but, in her own dream, she’s not speaking.
The children, uninvolved, won’t say you’re wrong.
Our friends are not surprised, say don’t prolong
the misery, the pain, by not accepting
that you’re gone. Because I refuse to hear
the first time you say you really have to go,
you speak again, louder than before, and wear
a new love on your arm, gesture meant to show
you have no love for me—I must forbear.
The dead are even colder than we know.

This poem is from Donna Hilbert’s collection of poetry, Traveler in Paradise: New and Selected Poems (PEARL Editions, 2004). Her latest book is The Congress of Luminous Bodies (Aortic Books, 2013). The Green Season (World Parade Books) is now available in a new, expanded second edition. Other books include Traveler in Paradise: New and Transforming Matter (PEARL, 2000) and Feathers and DustDeep Red, and Mansions, all from Event Horizon Press. Hilbert’s work is widely anthologized, most recently in The Widow’s Handbook (Kent State University Press, 2014).
*Photo courtesy of Michael Cory.
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