You would be wearing black,
you said, when we first met,
“a gray haired little old lady,”
but I knew better
by your voice.

You were love
at first sight,
perhaps the only one
I didn’t live to regret.

I gave Venus the credit
for that,
or our love of baths
and shoes – and shiny dresses,
which is, of course,
all one in the same.

And then again,
I thought it was
because we shared
the important things
and skipped the trifling ones,
something I’d been trying
to do for years.

I needed you,
I guess,
for that.

And other things:
the due you so graciously,
give others,
and almost never
claim for yourself.

Kinship of the realest kind,
which asks neither
blood nor reason.

Your sharp wit,
which made me remember
my own, neglected
like a forgotten hobby.

The joy you take
in sharing a good story,
as some women would
a beauty secret,
that way you have
of cutting right through it,
as though it were
a piece of cloth.

I think, perhaps,
you are the last
honest woman.
And yet you always say
the just right thing.

It is sustenance
of the sort I need,
knowing beauty and grace –
words we can rarely use,
but no other words will do –
are woven through you,
the warp and woof
of who you are.

Not that I always
think of it just
like that,
but there it is –
the way the eye
knows where to expect
the bouquet in the room,
or the fingers seek
the satin at the edge
of the blanket.