Jeanie Tomasko

Knowing you were tired of death
we spoke of other things;
traded stories
about our fathers,
dogs we used to have,
our trips to Paris—how you
bargained with the artist
for the painting of the woman
with your sister’s eyes.
We watched the afternoon light
play on the table, the color
of saffron, you said,
and you wished
for energy to dust the dust.

And now I’m watching bees,
on a Saturday morning, hovering
around the fading violet
hosta flowers—and you
are back in the hospital.

We were like them
that day—skimming what was left
of the late-summer air
entering small doorways
rummaging like thieves
for any last sweetness.