57th Anniversary Conversation
by Kathy Cotton

Happy anniversary, Sweetheart. How I wish
we were celebrating somewhere else today.
But here we are, socially distanced, years
post-pandemic and you still a sad six feet away.

Sorry, I’m chatting again about things
you’ve missed entirely–the global virus,
masks, distancing. They would have wrecked
your Alaskan Highway travel plans.

I’m polishing our sleek black granite stone–
our names, so long woven together, separate
here; mine waiting for some to-be-chiseled
future date when we’ll lie side by side again.

The two-decades-taller trees shading
this plot you chose are dropping pinecones
on the cemetery road where you loved to run.
I imagine you racing by, waving to me.

Here’s something that would surprise you–
the listed 57th anniversary theme is “Night”!
I was imagining the better gifts you’d choose
if we had celebrated a Ruby or Golden anniversary.

Still, what could better mark the love that
held us in those last dark sorrows or blessed us with
thousands of Nights wrapped in each other’s arms.
I’ll just sit here a while, remembering.

Happy anniversary, Sweetheart.

Third place winner in the Illinois State Poetry Society’s 2022 contest.  

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