by Megan Arkenberg

I did my best to staunch your grief.
His scent on your linen sheets, the glint
of sunlight on the kitchen windowpane
that recalled his steel-gray eyes — 
these were my gifts.
I planted dreams of conversations, kisses,
quiet mornings beneath your pillow
and plucked them out before you woke;
before you knew you had believed he was alive
again, and railed at your deception.
I took his words from the curve of your ear,
polished them, dropped them in your path
like curious pebbles awaiting discovery.
But you were comfortless, your grief a grave
no shoveled earth could fill.
I was as generous as Death allowed, but you
admitted no negotiation. Grief was your choice.
You would accept no little ghosts.

Megan Arkenberg is a writer and poet in Wisconsin. Her work has appeared in Asimov's, Strange Horizons, Lightspeed, and dozens of other places. In 2012, her poem "The Curator Speaks in the Department of Dead Languages" won the Rhysling Award in the long form category. Megan procrastinates by editing the fantasy e-zine Mirror Dance and the historical fiction e-zine Lacuna.

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