With Your Right Hand You Save Me

The boot we find in the river, empty
as a homestead – dishes on the table, owners gone –
recalls a pharaoh emptied from his skin, still watertight.

Hieroglyphic smoke rises, honoring the dead.
I have mine. You have yours. We hold
vigil, burning, small offerings by firelight.

Early next morning, you in the tent asleep,
narcissism and I spell my name with a stick
in the stillness of the ash.

Once daylight comes, who can believe in death?
Zealot that I am, I walk into the water to feel real –
venial, I know, but I matter so sharply to myself.

Even your silence is, animal and warm,
not enough to draw me from this temple,
alert, awake to runoff, cold as living will.

For breakfast, you packed berries,
sweet and fat. You’ll share with me, pretending you don’t
hear confession in my voice: regret –

I will take them all.


Photo by Brooke Gottmeier