Statistically, I am doomed to outlive you.
Other wives twist their rings and plan
the years UNTIL, until, love, you drop
your chin in the La-Z-Boy, grayfaced
leaving a wet ring on the table and me
left with still a decade left to widow.
I’m so afraid to live alone but to be
guaranteed even less—how do I explain
my bitterness? Pre-existing. Maybe once
I took comfort knowing I would survive
whatever husband took me, but now I need
a stiff one to get through my browser
history. Read nephropathy, read retinopathy.
O, love, how selfish to think of myself
a blurry reflection in your eyes clouded
with cataracts to winter sky. I wipe rings
on the counter, imagine your one gray toe
swollen blister blue, seized and ripe for knife.
I, daughter to long-lived wives, stick a needle
in your arm, insulin, from Latin insula, an island
in some poor pig’s belly. Pancreas, sweet
bread, meaning flesh—it all comes back to that.
Flesh of my flesh, I’m quick to forget my body
and its history when faced with yours. Touch
me in my grief, where I am reassembled
from fingernails and honey and my mother’s
dark eye. Touch away our parting foretold in cold
screen. Read cardiomyopathy. Read your name
bubbling in the syringe. How could your life
be measured out just so? Touch me so I go first.