Walking home a month after your call, I passed the mural
beneath the overpass, its edges sketched and still
a ghostly white. Thinking of you, how your hands felt
through the sleeves or your sweater as I led you out
to the beach, your eyes cloesd, I looked at all that was left
unfinished and wondered how soon the artist would return
with her ladder and boxes. But it had been so cold lately
and I didn't know if she'd be back at all before spring.
And when I was almost home, rounding the corner, I saw,
among gray-green and the half-light, a single flower
still opening, momentarily and shockingly white. I bent
to pull it up, press it in a letter to you. But of course I didn't
reach it, and of course there was no letter. The winter was still
turning on, your life already sketched, finished but not complete.
I thought of how you laughed when you stepped into the sand,
how you didn't open your eyes until your feet were in the water.