your last breath was warm

                your last breath was warm
                on the inside of my hands
                i could have lifted it to my face
                and tasted the transformation
                but it would have been a kind of hiding

                you'd told me to not cry
                that tears were not the last picture
                you wanted in your head
                before whatever happened

                so bereft of bereftness
                i could only sit by you and lean forward
                your eyes would open and close
                like they were on overstretched rubberbands
                open and close slowly
                open slowly and then close with the
                liquid softness of leaving

                your last breath was warm
                and knowing your eyes were soft
                i reached out and caught the air
                with my palm

                you traced the veins in my hands
                long after whatever had happened

                                    -meredyth smith