behind the gate

“every moment is sacred.”
those last words tumbled out
or so you told me.

I wasn’t there
beside her
where you stayed
for hours after
to wash her body
with medicines from the forest.

November Tuesday
ocean fog
so thick on this small island.
the wood burns low.
you clear her vessel late into night.

none of this is mine to write:
     how you kissed her cold hands
     brushed her hair
     touched her feet
     it was enough
     and so
     you left.

headlights slow in the dark
     to the fire-warmed house behind the gate
     to the shadow of the tall tree
     to shed your clothes in the entryway
     to be held
     for a moment
     to collapse
in the shower
hot water on your skin
     the low light
     cascading in.

I washed your hair
braided prayer
and attended your rest
in the upper room—

an open window
to still mist.