Two Poems from Bill Roberts
(Previously published in Monkey's Fist, Issue #2, January 2002)
My dream lover snuggles in beside me,
holding me for warmth.
I begin to stroke her cool back,
work my hand over a buttock,
cool and smooth,
then up her back again
to her slender neck,
then, fascinating, back and forth
over her smooth, hairless head.
She nuzzles that head against
my neck, embarrassed.
I work down her back again,
down lower, examine tenderly
the hairless, damp crevice
between her cool thighs.
My dream lover has finished
four chemo treatments,
comes to me tonight
before starting the next four.
The drugs poison unseen enemies,
eradicate all body hair,
lower body temperature,
but don't choke off desire.
Not entirely. No, not entirely.
Mary didn't tell Hugh about her heart.
She told only her neighbor, my wife.
Mary had been a practical nurse,
knew the implications of heart disease
and, in her case, its final outcome.
She chose not to tell Hugh, her husband,
because he'd only drink more heavily,
be of no value to her whatever.
So, she suffered silently, alone, except
for occasional neighborly visits
with my wife, who listened patiently.
At a dark hour one spring morning,
we heard an ambulance arrive and
a wailing of gathered family emotions.
We knew it was Mary - the end for her.
We adopted Hugh for the next six
lonely months before he too died.
He drank himself to death,
as Mary had known he would.
Bill Roberts is a retired nuclear weapons consultant who can picture the day when all WMD are negotiated into oblivion. His poems have appeared in about 200 online and small-press magazines over the past fifteen years - one was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2009, another for a Best of the Net award. Bill offers a course on how to write a poem a day in 15 minutes, then get it published. He lives in relative quiet with one wife and two dogs in Broomfield, Colorado. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.