In Memoriam (For My Wife, Wendy Fort)

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Twice they said you would not make it
and you awakened like a small bird
in its first dance outside its fallen nest.
Husband, two daughters, and friends
sat at your bedside at daybreak
into the evening until each minute
fell out of the heavens like a gold coin
into the lilac light that were your eyes.
Your chest rose and your breath fell
and the night nurse detected a slight
murmer in the parlours of your heart.
It’s going to be all right mommy , shhh, shhh, Shelley whispered.
They held your hands for hours
as Shelley sang into your eyes
that suddenly opened and you smiled
and said to your daughters:
I love you, write it in your journal.
They wrote it in their journals
in their bedrooms in your voice
on your last day on earth
before heaven you told Claire (16) and Shelley (12)
you would speak to them in their dreams.
What am I going to do without you
without the walks to elementary school?
I did not want you to walk me.
it would be funny to my friends.
What about our little dog Mojo in the park
who leaped like a deer in the tall weeds
behind the Windy Hills Elementary school?
It’s going to be all right mommy, shhh, shhh, Shelley whispered.
Shelly screamed:
I don’t want another Mom.


She won’t see me graduate college
married or dance in the meadow
and soft shoe with Hines or Astaire.
She will be gone forever. 
Claire comforted Shelley:
You will be fine.
You are beautiful

Wendy made you beautiful
and there is nothing to fear.
Afterwards in the afterlife
you gave us the proper signals:
Claire dreamed you had left us
and the morning clock stopped.
Weeks before your photograph
that blew across the room with closed windows
and without the Nebraska wind landed face up.
Shelley wanted to play the violin for you
and they found it in the dark locker halls.
She played Cripple Creek by memory 
though her music sheets were in the case.
Shelley’s last song for you to hear
the symphony string filled the hospital halls
and lifted your spirit slightly
from the hollow ground to higher ground.
After I heard your last breath Wendy
I awakened Shelley from the fold out bed
and she touched your hollow chest.
She knew you were gone
and asked: Where did she go?
Can you close her mouth?
The nurse closed your mouth.
We walked down the hallway
and drove out of the parking lot
as Shelley wept in the backseat.
I suppose it was her young heart and age:
We should have gotten a jar for her last breath
Something alive in a bottle to trick death?