Dear Henry,

Sage CohenSage poetry and prose8 Comments

What has it cost you
to love me? Sentry to

this sanctum, you station
yourself each night between

my sleep and the door.
There will be no surprises

on your watch. Insistent
on deference, you have

kept one step behind me
with your jolly, lopsided

skip, refused the front seat,
denied the bed’s hierarchy

for more than eleven years.
Together, we have strained

under the weight of anticipation
as if this could keep us safe.

You lie at my feet now
panting, adrenals overdrawn,

hair scarce down the bare
bulb of your tail, and I think

how I rode out a decade alone,
armored in the exhaustion

of accomplishment. Maybe you
would have put the glossy bulk

of your body between this
desk and me if you could.

Or perhaps you understood
all along that bearing witness

is grace. But now I need
to know how much my sorrow

has soured your stomach.
If your muscles have become

banded with all I have held
too tight. Who will defend

me, Henry, from the fate
I couldn’t spare you

when the angels come
for you in the night?

8 Comments on “Dear Henry,”

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