Last Time We Shared a Bed

Last Time We Shared a Bed
Karen George

We no longer slept together
once you began chemo and radiation.

You ached too much for the firm mattress
I needed, so you slept in the spare room,

wrought iron bed with leopard quilt,
lion blanket. The night before Hospice came,

I prayed as I gave you Reiki.
Between my palms, held your feet,

part of you closest to Earth. Recalled
how you said its energy entered

and opened us, peeled back the layers.
How we laughed at your gnarled toes, broken

when you threw yourself into martial arts.
My fingertips on your ankle bone sent shivers

up my spine, thinking how you loved to tickle me.
I moved chakra to chakra over your earthly body

we grew closer through, the vessel that carried you.
Cupped my hands over your knees, soft flesh,

bones beneath like a skull. Remembered
when you tore your meniscus hiking.

As I cradled your crown,
I felt the soft fuzz returning.

You snored softly. I wanted to,
but didn’t wake you.

Filled the air above you
with ancient symbols.

Back in the hard bed,
through the baby monitor,

I listened to you breathe.

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