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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 4, December 2012

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Susa Bracken
Northern California, U.S.A.


For Days

For days we watched him leave us breath by breath. We ate, we cried, we confessed, we laughed, we slept in our clothes, we tossed and turned all night beside him on the uncomfortable drums of cots the hospital staff had given us.

We could hear seagulls above the masts of his ship as it sank low in the waters with all that he had meant to us.

And then it came, late one night, a little before midnight, his last great reach for breath, sudden, huge, astonished, as if he’d seen a vision behind his eyelids that bellied and snapped his mainsails taut.

I felt his life-lines slip from my fingers as they untied themselves from the long wooden pier, his voice, his laugh, his arms, his love: all canvas, wood and bright-work now, set high upon the currents.

What seemed important
a mere week ago now means less
than a changeling cloud—
through a pale spring dusk
the empty road winds on . . .

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