Photo by Rudri Bhatt Patel

by Olga Dugan

“I thought that love would last forever: I was wrong.”
 –W. H. Auden

(for Nicky)

To my grieving, a gentler thought . . .
When I die, do not dwell
long in the house of weeping
where funeral knell drowns out
the lilt of Southern Bell

and time is not of essence.
No cars, buses will take pause
before our door, nor seasons
halt plight or pleasure because
a leaf falls in Autumn. And do not

ask the sleepy world to wake.
Would you douse each star?
Demand the moon cease waxing,
waning; deny the sun its molten set?
And what of us? Our days of right—

of wrong—sacred music ever
living, never slipping from burial
to oblivion. Remember hours
winnowing into wind-rushed nights,
into morning caresses calm, warm

like clarity in the eye of storms
they sometimes formed come dusk.
If all of this you interred in grief,
what good, I ask, could ever be? No,
Beautiful One. Love, care, then, bid

my soul to heaven, and leave it
there. Not now, but again, share
your blue-downed sleep and bright-
linen dawns. Not your death in life,
I will not be your life in death,

so promise me, my friend—see
years of suns rise and set; of moons
push and pull on oceans yet; and
when you long for all that was, know
love awaits, as love forever does.