Open Heart

by Paula Goldman

The zipper line down the sternum,
the airway tube in your mouth,
the blanket pulled to the chin,
I want to unzip you, climb in.

How we lean into each other:
children, houses, moving, movies.
Each year between us stores up
for future’s leaner years.

You remember those thin yellow
paper sheets for algebra and geometry
divided by our drawn squares;
the equations always came out
perfectly: So and so equals:
getting gas, stopping the mail, marketing

Morning coffee elicits, “The coffee
is good today, the coffee is weak,
the coffee is strong.”

You sit with your bowl of cereal
and fruit and the Times, twitching
your fingers. I place my hand
over yours to calm you.

Who really looks at us? “Do you like
my haircut?” “Is this jacket
too small?” “Am I thinner?”
“Don’t I have nice legs?” you tease.
Fine muscled legs, strong hands,
the same wedding ring after 50 years,
touches my obdurate heart.

And now that you’re healing,
things will never be the same.