Kyle shanebeck

I Loved it all

I can still feel the weight of your

hair in summer, soft between

my hands, your arms like lines of fire

racing around my head, the comfort

of your smile buried deep into the pulse

beneath my chin.

I remember the light behind your eyes,

the eyes that shone in Autumn,

sharp enough to ravage me inside,

to tear apart my lies, to cut away

the mask I use now to hide my grief

beside the memory of your smile,

the light was the last of you that died.

For winter came up from the ground,

held you like a lover, traced his hands across

the softness of your skin, buried his

ruthless fingers into your breasts and held

you close to him; worked his way into your

limbs until you felt nothing but the cold within.

The seasons turned, but winter lived,

slowly pulled you to the earth with him,

bent our lives around his whim, made every

happy moment seem as distant as the

warmth of summer in our minds,

grasped our sacred things until

snow covered every aspect of our lives.

I can still feel the weight of your

hair in winter: brittle, like leaves

falling down, your branches weak and

hanging, your smile tired,

so tired: always. tired.

We cut his hands out of your chest,

burned the houses of your breast, salted the

fields, vomited their grains, poured the fire

in your veins.  We warred and raged and fought until

we realized you would not heal,

your skin sunk beneath the weight of pain,

a mountain range of bones beneath

the tremor of your cries,

and as that winter crept into your eyes

we took you home to watch you die.

There I saw you release my hand,

welcome winter into your bed, learn

the numbness of his arms around your head,

practice how to sleep beneath the darkness of

his embrace, dream about the place

where cold leads us to unfeeling.  Your

once youthful face dragged around the

failing light behind your gaze.

There winter held you were you cried

there you smiled at me,

and there you died.

How cold the earth, the snow upon

your crown: granite thrust into

the ground.  Upon your eyes

the blinding winter rests,

Summer and Spring, Winter and Fall,

I hear your gentle call:

fear not the end,

"I loved it all."

I was very moved by the Photos taken by Angelo Meredino of his wife jennifer and her fight against breast cancer.  He captured so beautifully the pain of watching someone you love struggle with a terminal illness.  I wrote this poem for them.