Three Years

Two poems from Pamela Gillilan:

Two Years
When you died
all the doors banged shut.

After two years, inch by inch,
they creep open.
I can relish
small encounters,
small flares of desire;
begin to believe as you did
things come right.
I tell myself that you
escaped the slow declension of old age
leaving me to indulge
this wintry flowering.

But I know
it's not like that at all.

Four Years
The smell of him went soon
from all his shirts.
I sent them for jumble,
and the sweaters and suits.
The shoes
held more of him; he was printed
into his shoes. I did not burn
or throw or give them away.
Time has denatured them now.

Nothing left.
There will never be
a hair of his in a comb.
But I want to believe
that in the shifting housedust
minute presences still drift:
an eyelash,
a hard crescent cut from a fingernail,
that sometimes
between the folds of a curtain
or the covers of a book
I touch
a flake of his skin.

"Two Years" can be found in The All Steel Traveller; "Four Years" from the anthology Staying Alive, edited by Neil Astley.