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Heroes widow their wives, who must embrace paradox:

After he left, I was with him all the time;

his every ache, deprivation, I felt before he did.

When the messenger came, I told him the news;

only the details of death needed to be named.

Now they drift through our home like flakes of ash,

or buzz like stunned flies around my head.

Sunlight invades each room, shadows the hearth;

somewhere, a storm splinters the air.

The house is utterly empty, it is thronging with presences;

weeping, I cannot hear my voice, which is everywhere.

After a hero closes his eyes, people keep him awake forever;

when I close my eyes, I see the years I have lived —

a felled avenue of trees; I see the years ahead —

dark birds watching me, circling me, giving me

more and more time.

By Diane Fahey

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