My father punctuates his speaking with "whatever"
and "essentially" and "more or less." I wonder
about this persistent half-conviction, until he tells me
about a friend who's dating, just a few months
after his wife's death. I ask my father if he's considered that,
trying, with my question, to give permission if he needs it.
He says no quickly. He's satisfied with what is,
and he's satisfied with what was. How I ache for that,
how I wish could wear a loyal ring on a loyal finger,
accepting love and loss, life’s twin gifts, with equal assent.