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While Words Fail
By Elaine Frankonis

You were gone before you went,
slipping into final forgetting
with each hollow breath.
I was your angel, you said,
while you sat at the sunny table
picking at pancakes and coffee
while you still could
smile and think meaning.
Music kept your eyes alive
a while, your feet remembering,
thoughtless, but certain of rhythms
too deliberate to disappear.
You followed my familiar lead,
reaching for melody lost
with the fading of voice.
You didn't believe in demons
but I saw them slip inside your skin
forcing pain from your pores,
folding your face into caverns
of anguish and alarm,
as steadily, words fled, leaving
a frightened keening in their wake.
You went before you were gone.
And when you went, the world
filled again with words.




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