in memory of Nathan Becker 1918-2000

Dirt, rock’s clatter on pine boards,
smooth grey stone on smooth gray stone.

Turning away. In dreams you sit in the passenger’s seat
and weep while I, strapped in back reach for your shoulders,

try to bracket you but wake. Everything moves
as before—the Black Racer uncoils

to tongue the air, quince that freshened
from blossoms to leaves

finally fruits, wind shakes
the silken sky. Shadows dark up.


After Fifty-Nine Years Together

Gestation of sorts—
she’s enclosed in the womb of his death
folding in on herself for nine months—

or a flower growing
in reverse—blossom, tight-lipped bud,
leaves withdrawn to nubs,

the sturdy stalk of her shrinking
to a blade that waves above the ground
just before she sinks to where

roots retract to meet her. Now wriggle.
Now still. Even then she subtracts
herself cell by cell.
Photo by levork

Susan Nisenbaum Becker
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