I hold your bald head in my hand,
your cheekbone pressed against my palm.
I wipe away the line of sweat
from where your eyebrows used to be.
A new sun begins to creep
through the blinds.
We made it through another night.
I tear yesterday from the calendar,
knowing the ripping won’t stir you
from your drug-soaked sleep.
The calendar marks the 20th day
of many yet to come
away from home, retching in your sleep,
fighting in your dreams the
relentless cells the doctors call “cancer.”
If only one word could summarize
the relief I wake to when I see
your chest rise and fall.
Your ring doesn’t fit anymore.
Your fingers swelled exponentially
as your legs began to atrophy,
so I brought a picture of us at sunset
the day we took our youngest to college.
It will never grow too big for the frame.
Your friends call, say How is she? and
When is she coming home?
My optimism chokes me, and I cry,
if I can, when I’m alone.