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In my sleep, I dreamed that I came to your grave—

and what lay between us? The beautiful uncut

hair of the grass, and topsoil like the rich

dirt in which you buried our sheets

after I left you—our DNA—near where

you later buried your golden dog.

Also between us the new ceiling

of plain pine, and the linen garment

your fresh-washed unbreathing body had been clothed in,

and the earthen chamber music of wild,

underworld, spiral creatures,

and your tissue I have loved, and within it the ancient

primordial man of your skeleton.

Narwhal tusk, elephant ivory,

icon of your narrow-hipped male power

I rode, rowing in eden. But

it was no dream, I lay broad waking,

and you have not died yet. I can read this to you

in a week, in front of the woodstove,

the flames curving up to points and disappearing,

or beside the pond, the water rippling,

ovals of hemlock and beech changing places in it.

Sometimes you fall asleep as I’m talking to you.

And you’ve said: I want you to be reading me a poem when I die.

And, Let’s not stop writing to each other when I’m dead.

And when I’m dead too! I said. When we met,

though we fell in love immediate and permanent,

we could not make a two-soul union,

nor when I left—each of us had to

work, on ourselves, for years, to get there.

And now we are there! Maybe this has been

death all along! Maybe life is a

kind of dying. Maybe this has been heaven.

When They Say You Have Maybe Three Months Left

Sharon Olds

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Poem of the Week

Mira Rosenthal


translated from the Polish written by
Tomasz Różycki