Without sleep, in light rain, I step outside and walk towards the brook. The air is soft and full, and the mountains are just visible against the earliest hint of dawn. I can't believe I am here. I never can.
You woke early and came in to talk, worried as always at the hours I keep. Without asking - noticing what - you tucked yourself behind, pulling me in to lean. I have been thinking of the beautiful cross you gave me years ago. It settles me.
And later, eating sliced apple and garlic, talking about F's recent trip to the dentist, I said casually - for how else can one manage - "I am writing about him again." Your map to this place is extensive and rich. "Have you made it to the end?" you ask. I am broken when I answer, "how will I ever know?"
The brook slips up across rocks that just a few days earlier were slick with ice. I find deer tracks in the mist and kneel. Last summer they filled with rain and honeysuckle blossoms floated across them. We earn our grief, and we enter the temple alone.
But these twenty sentences are for you - here when they began - and who years ago said, "I don't need to see the grave until you're ready." When we made love this morning, a third body watched over us, and the dark-eyed Juncos and chickadees became one bird. Forgive me the many miles I have insisted I take on my knees, and the unworthy companions I confuse for guides. How sweet these apples, how nourishing this tea.