I never feared death
Until you died.
Now – again – I fear facing you
With your dark curls and your Sinatra sneer.
Like on my 28th birthday when you warned to me watch my weight,
“Or I’ll trade you in for two 14s.”
And then you actually did.
More than two, really.
You mocked my other lovers as “nice boys,”
Then taught me toxic lessons.
Yes, you made my blood rush,
Grabbed me by the waist and hissed, “Follow me.”
Who’s your jitterbug partner now?
Do you make the tender angels cry?
Do you do to them what you did to Bernadette?
I wish sometimes I did believe in Hell
So I could just let you go.
That frail gray man who died last year did not resemble you.
People said how much you’d changed. Really?
Enough to apologize?
Enough to quench my fear of Heaven?
Marilyn Rea Beyer has been reading poetry in public since the 1960s but only began writing her own in the 2000s. She holds a Master’s in Oral Interpretation of Literature from Northwestern University and has had a varied career in teaching, high tech, folk radio and recently retired as PR Director at Perkins School for the Blind. A native Chicagoan and long-time resident of Lexington, Mass., she now lives on Massachusetts’ North Shore in Salem with her husband, history author and filmmaker Rick Beyer. Website: http://www.marilynreabeyer.com