How beautiful you are, my love, my friend; doves of your eyes looking out from the thicket of your hair, like two fawns grazing in a field of lilies. You are beautiful my love, my perfect one.
-Song of Songs
I’m almost finished. Your bills are paid, clothes sorted, books piled in boxes.
I keep finding things—
A birth certificate stuffed between your art prints, your father’s death certificate, the place and date when you married, how much I weighed at my birth.
I’ve been finding twenties in drawers, unopened checks in your mail. I just found your diamond rings and pearl necklaces in the front pocket of your new suitcase. Hair balls under the bed, dust in the white shag carpet, dates scribbled down, newspaper articles clipped.
I took a walk today and found a lilac bush. Like the one outside my window when I was little, the one growing next to the tree with the bird’s nest. Do you remember, Mom?
Purple petals in my fingers, I cupped them into my face. Like a bouquet, I wish I could carry that smell over to your window today. Would you be able to smell them?
“Smell is one of the things to go when you are dying,” the hospice nurse said.
Soon, I will enter your room and hold you in my arms, crawl into your skin. We can swim into the ocean, in the sparkling waves, our backs arched, somersaulting, tugging the tide, then letting go.
Sherri Levine’s poetry has appeared in CALYX, Clackamas Literary Review, Driftwood Press, The Opiate, Sun Magazine, Timberline Review, Verseweavers, and other publications. Levine received the 2019 Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize and was awarded 1st Place in the 2017 Oregon Poetry Association’s Fall Contest. She founded and hosts Head for the Hills, a monthly poetry series, which features two poets followed by an open mic. Levine’s art is displayed and sold in magazines, literary art festivals, and bookstores. Her book, In These Voices, was published in 2018, by Poetry Box. She escaped the harsh weather of upstate New York and has ever since been soaking in the Oregon rain. sherrilevine.com