Just Before Death Comes

You want to say,

She was old, she had a good life.

You want to say,

She was treated well.

You want to believe

that death can be tender,

a blessing, a dark and beautiful flower,

and maybe you do say these things,

and all the while

your heart sags, wails,

curls like a cat into itself,

longs to be held

in some great, warm arms

even as you hold out

your own unsteady arms

to hold what can never

be held.