Noun [man-swi-tood, -tyood]: mildness; gentleness

Is it because he was a man
that I found this his most
attractive quality—

his mildness, his gentleness,
his great heart, which,
by the time it stopped,

had grown three times                                
its normal size thanks to
malformed valves?

What if those leaky
flaps that never fully
closed and jacked up

his heart muscle like               
an iron-pumping      

were what made him
such a gentle man
with such capacity

for love, the kind
that echoes around me
to this day, that

somehow powers
the beat of my own
imperfect heart?

(for Clifford Polland, 1952–2001,
on the 39th anniversary of our wedding)

About janishaag

Writer, writing teacher, editor
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4 Responses to Mansuetude

  1. Dick Tracy says:

    His heart still beats with yours. Love doesn’t die.

  2. Gloria Beverage says:

    One of the sweetest poems you’ve shared. Thanks.

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