... dark wide realm where we walk with everyone.
- Thom Gunn

Dangerously frail is what his hand was like


when he showed up at our house,


three or four days after his death


and stood at the foot of our bed.

Though we had expected him to appear


in some form, it was odd, the clarity


and precise decrepitude of his condition,


and how his hand, frail as it was,

lifted me from behind my head, up from the pillow,


so that no longer could I claim it was a dream,


nor deny that what your father wanted,


even with you sleeping next to me,

was to kiss me on the lips.


There was no refusing his anointing me


with what I was meant to bear of him


from where he was, present in the world,

a document loose from the archives


of form - not spectral, not corporeal -


in transit, though not between lives or bodies:


those lips on mine, then mine on yours.


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