"'He shouldn't have gone,' she whispered silently."1

by Dan Lukiv

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Take your treasure,
Place her behind frost-swirls
And lumpy glass
And whirling snow
In whirling wind
In death's white desert,

And forget to kiss her lips
Good-bye
Or hello,
And forget to say
The wind-blistered skin
And kitchen-ragged fingers
Are worth it for
A moment of gentle joy,
For an embrace that
Warms the blood
For a whole hour.

What arrogance made you think
That wood thrown to the fire
Would not burn?

You left your hearth
For a line of barbed wire;
You left behind the chance
To confront yourself,
To yell at your wife's lover,
To kick your own behind
For being the idiot-priest
Of some ice-bound
Pilgrimage.

What did you think about
As the wind howled about your
Face,
As the suicidal
Heat of your body
Seeped through your clothes
Into the prairie-
Chill?

Did you recall skipping
With your treasure
Through the wild meadow
To the prairie-hut?

Did you recall that she'd begged
(Or that her face had begged)
You not to leave her alone?

Did you really think
You were making things better?


1 "The Painted Door," by Sinclair Ross


Dan Lukiv is a poet, novelist, short story writer, article writer, editor, teacher, husband, and father of four girls. His life is full of a lot of hair spray.
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