I am told I am a month from spring but only a month and that at noon sun warms the south cathedral wall. My room is constantly cold, though light seeps through its high windows, and it is my room, my bed, my doctor, who finds his way into my muddy street, and my month until spring.
He: You will not see another summer. This thing in you grows toward your heart. I: Summer filled my heart when I was young and had two lovely boys, a gentle wife. They predecease me. What matter days? If I live to fifty, I'd not see another summer. You mistake the time of year for time of life. He: You know your needs. I fear your mental anguish by comparison will be soft rain. Soon you must have your foretaste of hell. I: Doctor, if you wish to speak theology, think on your own death. I will greet you by the river, hand you across the keel, and your fat wife, and your fat daughter. I will be there to introduce you all. [End Page 898]
My soul slips from me these cool fall days as I lie awake and dream. I am of two realities, a bed surrounded by a room, a time somewhere when I walk with my family, fret what will become of us. I wake again from waking, know I dream, and dream myself into a dream of sleep, where I am lost in an effortless race down a darkening street.
This is not what I expected. I've found a brightening and little pain. I am unafraid, feel no loss, want no goodbyes. Spring will return. People who do not this day exist will create what I shall never know. Now is not about death. Now is about my death.
Bill Buege has published poems in various periodicals, including Iris, The Madison Review, The New York Quarterly, and Christian Century.