I said, no, not yet.
They took her anyway,
the nurses and tubes.
I kept our place exactly as it was,
kimono open in her form on the couch,
dining room chairs pointing in all directions.
What now to do with all the room
and the more room made
by where her pills and pillows were.
Give me something to make of all this air
that keeps trying to fill itself
with anything but her.
I open no window. She is in the dust
she hated, the damp above the tub.
Who will forgive me now?
I press and hold a number.
Her voice says please leave a message.
I say sorry, so sorry, love,
I could not compete
with the welcome mat of stars
and the end of pain.
I write to keep our place open, big,
bigger than wherever she has gone,
though finally I have to sleep.
The page slips from my hand to the floor.
When I wake, another hand
has laid it back beside me.
Ken Haas lives in San Francisco where he works in healthcare and sponsors a poetry writing program at the UCSF Children’s Hospital. His first book, Borrowed Light, won the 2020 Red Mountain Press Discovery Award, won a 2021 prize from the National Federation of Press Women, and was shortlisted for the 2021Rubery Book Award. Ken has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, has won the Betsy Colquitt Poetry Award, and serves on the Board of the Community of Writers. His poems have appeared in over 50 journals and numerous anthologies. Please visit him online at http://kenhaas.org.