"Your Bright Jays": a poem by Robert Selby

Darling, all the years left to me would not allow
enough time to describe how much I miss you.
I wanted to tell you I know you’re gone now.
I address this not to your imposter, who,
in heart-stopping moments, registers recognition in her eyes –
when I arrive in the red cardie you knitted during a knitting phase,
or she slaps my wrist for slurping tea, a habit you despised.
But then the sun goes in and her eyes glaze.

I love you, and so I visit her every day.
When she won, I had to give you up; I couldn’t manage the fear.
She calls after me, frightened, when I come away.
Sometimes it’s not my name. Or it is, but with a sneer.
Today, after she was settled, I came home to the kitchen table, and cried.
It was so quiet, I could hear your bright jays playing on the roof.
I knew then that you had died.
The body is negotiable fact, the spirit truth.

This article first appeared in The Dream Ticket