For Karen, As Two Years Arrive

As two years arrive before your anniversary Mostly I think of you, my darling, With love and gratitude Yet sometimes I am overwhelmed with sorrow. I am so sorry, darling. I am so sorry. I regret every word that caused you pain. I know I did. Three times those last few years you dissolved In desperate tears.

I regret the full weight of my personality That sometimes fell on you My moods, my melancholy, silence, and withdrawal, Sometimes preoccupation, dark concern. You knew sometimes what I was feeling But sometimes not And you always blamed yourself For everything. All things wrong under the fierce and burning sun (As in your prints “Ash Wednesday”) You took upon yourself. Yet it was I so often wrong.

While you – You so successfully kept from me your sufferings Your “bleak clouds,” your dark discouragements, Your self-blame. You never wanted me to feel the slightest weight, You tried so hard never to complain Never to burden any other with your inner pain. You almost never did. And then you blamed yourself for that.

Regrets are useless, dear, I know, You can no longer brush away my own With warm and living fingers I cannot kiss away your salty tears. And yet I remember all the shy smiles you gave to me The awe you sometimes showed in coming to me The way you held me close.

I used to love so much the ducking of your chin When you spoke to others fondly Of me You tried to hide that sly smile of yours. Sometimes then your head tilted back upon my shoulder.

Two years! It cannot be that long, it can’t!

Will you wait for me, my love? Will you wait?

How long it is, How far the road Stretches out ahead.

—Michael (April 13, 2011) Published in First Thoughts July 27, 2011