Simple Words

Truly, Cupid leaves nothing to chance.
Likely, that crafty cherub was at the dance
where our lives collided on the Folly Beach pier
as we moved to music no one else could hear.
This soft collision of disparate personalites
was charted in the stars before we were born:
You were too shy for words;
I fancied myself a man of letters,
fully in love with language.
(Or, you teased, full of myself.)
Inevitably, I fell in love with you as well,
finding in old words new nuances of meaning.

Coupled in marriage, our agonies
and ecstasies were kernels of poetry.
The bliss of our bed was consummate joy.
We had relished ten years of the good life,
enriched by loving and other literary activity,
before a little lump in your left breast
reminded us of our mortality.
I became intimately familiar with terms
like “lumpectomy,” “chemotherapy,” “remission.”
And we not only survived, we thrived,
embracing “carpe diem” as a way of life,
unwilling to let slip away unlived
whatever time was left.

As a widower I continue to work with words,
trying to convey the otherwise unconveyable.
I know now the meaning of “metastatic,”
though I take no delight in defining it.
In your case it meant a movement of malignancy
from beneath the upturn of nubile breast
to the lobe of a lung on the other side
of the world’s kindest heart.

Yes, hell yes, I know well the meaning of
multi-syllabic medical terms like “metastatic,”
but choose to dwell on sweeter single-syllable words,
simple words that soothe the senses,
simple four-letter words like “hope”
and “home” and “kiss” and “hugs,”
good words like “life” and “love” and “wife,”
and a sweet word likely to linger forever
on the tortured tip of my tongue: “Mary”