Death, the Last Visit

Hearing a low growl in your throat, you’ll know that it’s started.
It has nothing to ask you. It has only something to say, and
it will speak in your own tongue.
Locking its arm around you, it will hold you as long as you ever wanted.
Only this time it will be long enough. It will not let go.
Burying your face in its dark shoulder, you’ll smell mud and hair and water.
You’ll taste your mother’s sour nipple, your favorite salty part,
and swallow a word you thought you’d spit out once and be done with.
Through half-closed eyes you’ll see that its shadow looks like yours,
a perfect fit. You could weep with gratefulness. It will take you
as you like it best, hard and fast as a slap across your face,
or so sweet and slow you’ll scream give it to me give it to me until it does.
Nothing will ever reach this deep. Nothing will ever clench this hard.
At last (the little girls are clapping, shouting) someone has pulled
the drawstring of your gym bag closed enough and tight. At last
someone has knotted the lace of your shoe so it won’t ever come undone.
Even as you turn into it, even as you begin to feel yourself stop,
you’ll whistle with amazement between your residual teeth oh jesus
oh sweetheart, oh holy mother, nothing nothing nothing ever felt this good.
—Marie Howe