Holding her wrist serenely as a surgeon, he snips
her hospital bands free, never shaking the blades.
When she retches, too contorted to sip,
he smoothes her brittle strands into a braid
with no bulges – a cool, constant plait.
He defends her to her doctors, tracks down
articles about new treatments, always waits.
His lips pull into straight lines, but never frown.
When the devil appears, fondling a crooked tail,
he’ll stride forth on his pilgrimage through hell.
Afterwards, bending to wipe his boots, he won’t tell.
Others will whisper, admire, turn green or slightly pale
at his voice, which never dwindles to a lie,
and eyes that calmly watched a woman die.