No one ever told me it would pulse
Like a beacon of light
Like a heart
This tiny thumbprint-shaped spot of
in the middle of his hardening skull.
I remember the day I found my ex-love’s pulse
in his neck.
The first time I’d seen such movement
The first person to whom I was sufficiently close.
We were in bed at the time,
The bed where I first said “I love you” to him
To any man.
He wrote a poem about my discovery
of the heart beating at his neck –
not his best work, if I remember correctly –
And then he proposed.
Over the winter, we froze
cold and hard and bitter,
And when spring came
to revive the trees
We found we had not survived.
I think about this because
I am lying in bed,
a delicate etching of frost on the skylight above me,
With my husband –
my love –
to my right, asleep,
his own pulse a slow, steady thrumming
between stubbled jaw and bare chest,
and my son –
my love –
not quite four months old,
to my left, asleep,
Not just his neck but his fontanel –
his whole body, really –
aquiver with the tender strength of his life.
between two pulses