Thomas lifts his hairshirt and touches, gently,
the wound beneath, recalls as he stands
in the shadowing lamplight before bed
how his chest was once wound free
but then came the children and now his heart
is forever exposed, a wound that cannot heal -
a place for all manner of things to visit, to perch
on fleshy lips or enter and touch the heart within.
Thomas lies in bed, bare chested, missing that kiss
at night when his naked wife would lie by his side,
her wound and his kissing, seeking solace as
their hearts wondered what the children were up to.
Thomas is old now, his wife buried, children grown,
having their own wounds to tend, their own spasms
to navigate. In the dark, Thomas slips his hand
into the gap and touches, gently, his own beating heart.
He stares, opened-eyed, up at the unseen ceiling,
seeks assurance, a belief that all would be well with hischildren and theirs long after his time has been and gone.