a trilogy of moments

By Ruthie Voth

i. unexpected

one time
you looked at me
and there was a strange shifting of my tectonic plates
the world around me turned, briefly, to shades of gray
and then
you were gone
and I couldn’t bring myself to look at you.

that was the first time you said I love you.

ii. anticipation in repose

you, lying cradled in my arms
a dark night
— we’re laughing

iii. temporary

I promised
to love, honor and cherish you
until death.

maybe the cherishing part
didn’t kick in
until after the day I thought you were dying.
that might have been the point when I realized
that life is short,
the end will be unexpected,
and a lifetime with you is not a given.

or maybe it was the morning I felt your skin
loose over your muscular arms
and in the darkness
I imagined you covered
in wrinkles and age spots,
you’re slipping away from me
faster than I realized.
(oh, to be wrapped in a skin that is not frail and