I can’t fathom

the thought of spending

the rest of my life 

without your breath

against my back at night,

your soft exhalations,

your arm against my hip.

I lie awake, immobile,

listen to the rise and fall

of waves. Grief compresses

my windpipe like a tourniquet, 

pushes words deep into my belly:

they find their place

amongst all the other truths

too terrible to utter.

I can’t bring myself to know

I will lose you, yet I will lose you.

We always wanted to let go

at the same time, but you must

leave before me. Meanwhile,

I urge you to eat soup,

buy you steaming bowls 

of cioppino and pho. Your 

presence small and fierce

on the couch. Such courage

I will never have. I can’t

be half of what you are, even

as you begin the process

of vanishing. Your smile

keeps both of us alive. 

Artwork by: Maryam Baniasadi