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Between this and that, my wife, my dear little cowslip,
was misdiagnosed with heart failure and everything I loved
lost its pigment. The old reds weren’t red anymore,
the rose bushes on the path by the river had lost their pink
and birds I’d rarely seen before emerged from their summer sleep
to languish in the maples behind our house. Grief
teaches us nothing, Emerson, in one of his moods, tells us,
but I learned a lot from the sadness blossoming around me.
Wherever I cast my gaze the world was ravished by stillness,
and I learned to abide the absence of color in my life
and to see myself as separate from my moving parts.
My wife lived on in the end, regaining her prodigious health,
and a few worthy apothegms stayed with me in the aftermath
of my grief. Behold, the month of September again this year,
again the violent blue of the late-summer asters.
Tony Whedon’s essay collection A Language Dark Enough won the Mid-List Press Award. He lives in Vermont.
Copyright 2020 Tony Whedon