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Deposition

  Coda

She paused, looking at him for
a moment with a smile. ‘My name?
I am Mademoiselle Yvonne de Galais…’

Then she was gone.
                    Le Grand Meaulnes
                      Alain Fournier

We trudged under the lash of measurement,
each pulse a question,
Will the next scan be clear?
pursued by odds we'd too soon hear
Your cancer is past treatment.

Against that hour I sifted memory
for the clarity a tango with extinction brings:
not the last ten winter years
when we grew close,
chance-met again after half a century,
but three months as your subject
while you slummed it,
a pubescent uptown rose
dallying with a bit of rough.

I refined myself
after that brief encounter,
quarried Wordsworth, Eliot, Lowell, Yeats,
cast your deities as mine,
pictured us kneeling at their shrine
but the conjunctive moment past
worshipped alone.

I’ll sing no sad songs for you,
my dearest, now you are dead,
instead for kaddish will surrender
the rage loving you engendered
and the still-born dreams that drove me
lee-rail buried down the years.

                         i m
                  Jill Rubinson
          (17/8/1943 - 30/7/2018)