From Behind the Curtain


I see you through the light canopy that enshrouds the bed,

Your cheek a false pink from yesterday’s gathering of early spring blooms.

Sun shines bright through the window panes, warming the edge of your pillow.

Wrapped up in a light duvet,

Its cover pale blue and patterned with tiny flowers, soft contrast to our sturdy wooden bed,

You roll away from the light.


Shall I throw open the windows and let the Green Man in?


Early morning was cool, dew glinting on the grass,

The radiator knocking as it kicked water through its pipes.

You did not stir then, when I brought in your tea.

I noted that your book and glasses lay undisturbed from last night,

Their place on the nightstand unchanged for weeks now.


The spears of White Coral Bells stand like guardians to the gates.

If only the bells would ring.


You are so light now, your body frail as a sparrow.

Your robe and blankets weigh more than you do.

It is no wonder you can no longer stand by yourself.


Even across the room, I am repelled by the dusty odor of decay, of letting go.

We will not share Midsummer this year.


Soundlessly, I pull the door closed.


© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2016)

Prompt (Hazel and Wren): This morning I’m peering out from behind some curtains. Let’s peer, and then write. (Anna Ådén, Untitled from Lily of the Valley series.  Photograph.

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