"Keep" by Margaret Atwood

I know that you will die
before I do.

Already your skin tastes faintly
of the acid that is eating through you. 

None of this, none of this is true, 
no more than a leaf is botany,

along this avenue of old maples
the birds fall down through the branches
as the long slow rain of small bodies
falls like snow through the darkening sea,

wet things in turn move up out of the earth,
your body is liquid in my hands, almost,
a piece of solid water.

Time is what we're doing,
I'm falling into the flesh,
into the sadness of the body
that cannot give up its habits,
habits of the hands and skin. 

I will be one of those old women
with good bones and stringy necks
who will not let go of anything. 

You'll be there. You'll keep
your distance,
the same one.

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