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Heaven's Door

The night the angels came,
a mottled moon
mapped out your way,
a keen frost
nipped their wings,
and Butkus, faithful to the end,
barked in his best baritone.

Against a backdrop,
of tired grey vigilance,
lips pale and puckered,
ribs rising through tightened skin,
I felt your fragile frame
shiver through shadows
of a pristine sky.

Worn from the fray
scarred from
the surgeon’s scalpel,
you lay,
weak as watered milk,
your breathing
keeping beat
to the din of death’s destiny.

I cursed the One who sent them,
held you to my breast,
howled when your head drooped,
washed your face with my tears
and swore at neighbours who fought
to set you free.

The jagged edge of memory slices deep.
It’s seventy years ago
since I wept at my daughter’s grave.

Now I realise
The love I’ve known
is the love of two people staring

not at each other,
but in the same direction.