Death Mask

The lines on your brow
were not there last I looked;
nor was the skin as sallow.

I know that pounds are falling
off with each puff of cigarette
and spoonful of cottage cheese.

You lose it to lose the parts of
yourself that she touched,
that she gained in what soured.

But it has settled into a 
stubbornness; pride in a flat
belly, a brother’s envy.

For Lincoln, the Civil War
precipitated the process
of death-like countenance.

In his first masked sitting, Abe
showed a strong jaw-
muscled firmness. Aliveness.

Four damning years of conflict
cast a living face in bronze,
his world became statuary.

When I touched your throat
where your shirt shows loss, 
I felt your heart beat,

the skin was warm and the 
mark my finger made,
sprang back. Supple.

Your smile to me was
not of sadness. It resonated
through me electrically

defiberalizing my heart. 
Resting peace is not ready for
your brow- for me to bear witness.

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