if at the end of his days
an album marked the hours.
highlighted his victories or defeats
sorrows, labors, slumbers.

if photographs flowed through simple childhood,
awkward adolescence.
high school’s uneasy dance
graduations, sports, and careers
images of his loves, prayers, marriages
children, then, of his own.

expensive, elaborate holidays
saved in blazing color, under protective plastic

She would not appear on any page
She lacks the proper qualities
to win a leaf visible to the questions
that might evolve.

but it was She
who cheered him when days grew dark.
coached him when game was lost.
counseled him when love was spent.
She who waited in the wings of
every cliché
silent and steady
invisible to the I
and to the they

completely excluded from any reality of
His Being
the hero they say.

whispered phone calls
discrete coded emails.
encrypted text messages.
soft tissue letters,
in bare posted envelopes.
back before electronics made connections easier.

these fill the volumes and tomes
of him
She has closeted away.

She was there,
at least in Spirit
for every birthday, every Christmas
Her rejected gifts returned.

She reminded him of his own wild days
while his own children grew.
calmed him through alimony payments.

through sickness, surgeries
Her gentle voice healed.
now in age
She reminds him of memories and laughter
the years have brought him.

through the decades only a few fragile moments
really real
She celebrated the seasons
with and without him.

is Her name mentioned
is She honored
next to the many photos
She was the Bookends of his life.

Not even a foot note.

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