You lay in the nest of your real death, Beyond the print of my nervous fingers Where they touched your moving head; Your old skin puckering, your lungs' breath Grown baby short as you looked up last At my face swinging over the human bed, And somewhere you cried, let me go let me go.
You lay in the crate of your last death, But were not you, not finally you. They have stuffed her cheeks, I said; This clay hand, this mask of Elizabeth Are not true. From within the satin And the suede of this inhuman bed, Something cried, let me go let me go.
They gave me your ash and bony shells, Rattling like gourds in the cardboard urn, Rattling like stones that their oven had blest. I waited you in the cathedral of spells And I waited you in the country of the living, Still with the urn crooned to my breast, When something cried, let me go let me go.
So I threw out your last bony shells And heard me scream for the look of you, Your apple face, the simple creche Of your arms, the August smells Of your skin. Then I sorted your clothes And the loves you had left, Elizabeth, Elizabeth, until you were gone.