Camille, at the end
I am too weak to stir, my love
but I can hear the whisper of your brush stroking the canvas.
I can't bear to think what I've become, what you are seeing.
What light is left in me that you can illuminate further with your hand?
But I am what I've always been to you, a muse. A body, a face, to contemplate.
In our short history we've been many things. Shared many kinds of love.
Not all bliss, yet no other life would be better.
Remember that time, mon amour, when you and Auguste stood
strong shoulder to strong shoulder
breathing in the scent of grass and youth?
Studying the sky? The blues and greens.
The shape of my hands clutching a bouquet of wildflowers.
Remember how safe we felt, in the afternoon heat?
How we talked about our thirst, all the way back through the field?
How we dreamed of water and chilled wine and the wet cool on our lips?
Remember how you laughed when Auguste stumbled and nearly dropped his canvas?
His gaze trapped, skyward, watching the birds.
We were so free to love and live.
Yet, wouldn't I still be here, withering from my womb,
passing into a realm without you?
Wouldn't I still be a mistress? A mother?
A form for you to build and rebuild with colour?
My eyes have goaded you into creation. Into repute. Into sorrow.
I know you will mourn me.
Know you will remember my face in all our histories.
You will not wear this grief long.
Will find new radiance in the sun on calm water
or the fog through the trees at quiet grey dawn.
I know you will teach our sons how to seize what is beautiful in this life.
How to see what's beyond the eyes.
How to love with every sense.
I am ready to leave, my love.
Young, but not untested.
I have been la dame dans la robe verte.
I have been au coeur de ma famille.
I have been. With you.
by Kim Mannix
Kim Mannix is a poet, journalist, wanna-be horror writer, mom, wife, hypochondriac, music nerd, TV snob and feminist who has lived in seven Canadian cities and has decided to stay for awhile in Sherwood Park, Alberta.
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