Twenty Years On

by Suzanne Osborne

Is dead acute — the first gasp of loss
and relief when your jagged presence
was torn from my life?

Or is it chronic — the long vanishment that followed
as we less and less often recounted our memories
of you, my eyes less and less often sought your picture
on the piano, and the wound slowly closed
so that now even I can scarcely see the scar?

I still wear your warm Scottish sweater
and the flowered Givenchy blouse I took
from your closet, but your ownership has faded
from them with the scent of your rose sachet.
Even the wedding ring I slipped on my finger
that night for safekeeping feels mostly mine.

So I wonder now:
Are you more
or less
dead
than when I found you?