Some days in the winter,
all he could do was sit
in the cold dark kitchen.
The light – his wife –
They knew that was coming.
It was in the creaks, the pain.
Then she was gone and the sadness
It sat on his nights and his days.
When he unlocked the door
he did not want to open it:
he stood, sometimes, at the frame,
half hoping to see her in her pinny.
She was always near the stove,
or cutting or mixing.
She would offer a floury kiss
and he would hold her tight.
Then he saw her thinness,
how the life was leaving and he made sure
that each hug was tighter than the last;
soon there was nothing to hug.
Then the coldness of loneliness was everywhere;
it stole his smile and his sharp step,
settled on his heart.
Sometimes, he did not go in at all.
He stood at the door with his key
and all strength went out of his legs.