My frame is this white dress, tailored three times, the third time for luck.
A veil to conceal the metamorphosis,
A bouquet to busy my sweaty palms, that matches the chapel,
Matches the venue, matches the day,
Matches the alignment of the stars.
A visage of you is conjured up from the rose petals—
Your bright baldness peeking out from a floral head wrap
That day you told me to work less, love more,
And the reason you tortured yourself was because you wanted time.
Because, you didn’t say, the thought more terrifying than your death
Was how your daughters would fill the emptiness of motherlessness.
In me, you saw something that could still be formed
By the quiet, devastating momentum of love.
You taught me that the light of fading stars is enough to live by;
Enough to struggle and hope and weep and cherish.
“You’ll see,” you said, your patient blue gown stretched across
The fury of metastases in your abdomen.
The weight of your years
Settles on me, in the dress, holding the bouquet in the chapel,
And shifts the alignment silently.