my daughter often asks for Mommy to read,
a sorry-Daddy smile in my husband's direction—
I am good at this.
I managed to sit for hours reading to you,
even after excuses,
assuring you that my brother,
a good reader himself,
was more than willing.
I could not completely beg off this time together,
such little pleasure left for you—
though the words droned on
like steady artifact
interrupting my relentless need.
You paid such close attention,
sometimes asking me to repeat a sentence,
nodding or smiling appreciation
for an anecdote of Leonard Wolfe's or
a bit of verse by Milne. Your books
could have held me at any other moment.
Just then, those final weeks together,
I needed mostly to read you,
to turn page after familiar page,
to palpably mark whole chapters we have lived.
Not wanting to finish, of course,
Just to hold you—
so worn and loved.