A free-verse poem that you may need to be married for over forty years to truly understand
|The elderly man visits her grave daily
come sunshine or rain. He kneels
before her headstone; his fingertips trace
her name engraved deeply into the stone;
tears fill his eyes as he talks with her lovingly.
“The kids tell me I can’t live in the past,
that it’s time I move on, get on with my life.
But they don’t understand. Unless they’ve lived it,
they simply can’t fathom the unbearable hurt.
We shared more than fifty happy years together –
living, loving, working the farm, raising kids,
relishing the good times, supporting each other
through the bad times and various family tragedies.
“We as a couple became one entity, much like
two saplings grafted together so they fused
into one tree. We were intertwined so completely
that life without the other became meaningless.
Then your death came like a bolt of lightning
that splits a tree in half, immediately killing the part
that falls to the ground while leaving the other part
still standing but permanently damaged.
“I am that scorched, scarred, hollowed out trunk,
still standing but mortally wounded. Like that tree
that now derives insufficient nourishment
from the fertile soil to survive the bolt
of lightning and eventually must die,
life no longer nourishes my soul.
I am heartsick and hollow in my core.
Mere words cannot express how much
I miss you and long to hold you one more time.
I wither more each day until I’ll be alongside
you soon, my darling. I am ready to join you
and make our tree whole again for all eternity.”
The old man stiffly stands, lays his hand
atop the headstone for a moment, then turns
and walks feebly to his old, battered pickup truck.
He drives slowly away one more time; he promises,
“I’ll be back to visit you tomorrow, sweetheart.”
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