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Sentenced to Love
by Joyce Kiefer
You make me feel alive,” he said to the woman almost twice his age.
“I never thought I’d feel like this again.
I’m obsessed with you.”
“That’s crazy,” she said.
He rolled up the fingers on both hands and held them out,
as if he were grasping bars.
“You sucked out my soul,” he wanted to text back,
“And love took its place,
flooded every crevice, every cell in me.
You can say your love ebbed away
and I should let mine do the same.
But your love was never you.”
His fingers stopped.
I’m a swirl of dry wind.”
“I’m your arms, you’re my feet,” the wife said, shifting her cane.
Fifty-two years and his arms, his hands, were petrified now,
unable to cook, drive, wipe her tears.
“You and I have become one flesh.”
Fire came in the night and stole the widow’s house.
It stole the Christmas balls
And her wedding pictures
And blasted her grandma’s crystal into tiny diamonds.
It took everything in her son’s room.
His life had vanished by fire in the Gulf War.
“But love,” she told a neighbor, “Nothing can burn it out of my heart.”