IN THIS GLAD HOUR, 1876
"Ever precious," my husband says,
dying as night winds strengthen. "Ever precious."
On my writing table, unanswered letters,
bible, Old Farmer's Almanac which fails to predict
with sunrise tables, planting charts, strong and weak
weather, his singular illness. On the cover, Father Time,
the scythe for reaping, the urn for emptying all hope.
The avenging angel holds the hourglass to the light
of judgement, grains of sand numbered like the hairs
in my husband's brush, sparrows that darken the elms
with their cries. If I uncoil the silk braids
of my hair, rid my body of black wool, crepe,
whose share in my grief mocks silence,
I become a prairie coneflower, sentinel at his grave,
ever blooming, everlasting.