The moment before, he knew

She knew it, too, but she didn’t know

What it meant.

He had spent all he had in love

And in time—

For time is all we have to spend—

Not knowing that one second would turn into



The moment before, he felt

She felt it, too, but it was in her mind

What it meant.

Dripping with memories, mundane,

Like coffee percolating—

For coffee is cooked one drip at a time—

Her daydreams were painted in



The moment before, he released

She released, too, but she didn’t expect

What it meant.

Embracing and letting go, to embrace again

Was like cleaning her teeth—

For teeth must be cleaned every day—

He knew her expectation and knew he would



In the moment, he could smell her

She could smell her, too, and her senses knew

What it meant.

He started a fire between his head

And his heart—

For the heart stokes the kindling the mind provides—

But embers singed deeper than he



In the moment, he could see the glow

She could see it, too, and she knew

What it meant.

The lingering warmth of his hand on her back

Felt like ice—

For ice signals death—

The frigidity was new but not exactly



In the moment, his conscience writhed

She writhed a little, too, and she knew

What it meant.

His goodbye lingered near

Like a rattling snake—

For snakes stalk and then suddenly strike—

And she stiffened her heart, bracing for

The end.


The moment was gone, the seconds counted

And done.

The hem of her gown swished away

And his countenance melted

Like fire melts ice

And ice turns to water

And fire boils it all to steam.

The end was the beginning

The beginning was now

He sat on the ground

He looked to the sky

The moon turned out its lamp

And he knew what it meant.


Jill Szoo Wilson


(Photo credit: This Poem was inspired by German painter Heiko Müller‘s painting, Doge and Dogaressa.  http://heikomueller.de)