A Sweeter Gift

What gift have I
to mark this day
one of countless days
we have shared –
days turned to years
years falling, tumbling rapidly
into decades.

What gift have I
dear friend
to mark this day
one of many such days –
heartbreaking, some –
most filled with joy.
We have shared
them all.

This day, by your bedside,
your hand in mine
I’ll read to you
those favorite poems
we’ve shared so many times.

Housman’s emotional lines
early though the laurel grows
it withers quicker than the rose,
and dear Emily’s
hope is the thing with feathers.

Perhaps this day
I’ll end our time together
with the brilliant Milton
who tried to
justify the ways of God to men
though justify I can not
this suffering wrought upon you.

What gift have I?
Only the gift of time
though nothing new
is a sweeter gift
when days are few.