FOR A COUPLE WHO DIED TWO DAYS APART

 

Winter’s no season to vouchsafe hearts

but these two made do with even exchange,

 

bone-white for bone-white and quiet now

as a forest through which some unfamiliar beast

 

has lately passed. Underfoot, they lie here,

one atop the other as, breathless in life,

 

they may happily have traded places

against the tousled sheets—slack-jawed

 

and joyfully astride—windows ajar

in equal measure to spring’s fecund chorus

 

or autumn’s flaming elegy. Winter for now or

forever: no matter to these lovers wedded beneath

 

hoarfrost and hunger, their contented erasure

like staves of music that molder on a forgotten page

 

until their vanishing itself becomes the song.

 

 

Frank Paino’s poems have appeared in a variety of literary publications, including: Crab Orchard ReviewCatamaranNorth American ReviewKenyon Review, and World Literature Today. He has received a number of awards, including a Pushcart Prize, the Cleveland Arts Prize in Literature, and a 2016 Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council. His third book of poetry, Obscura, is published by Orison Books (2020).

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