We lied to you that last year. It passed, we’d say or else

you’d do it anyway. Against your body, refuse

to drink and eat and wash, refuse to take the pills.

Refuse our hands. You’d sit there mumbling

in Yiddish, calling quietly for Him as though

he were your husband, Gotteniu tiyer, Gotteniu veis mir.

Call it love or prayer or madness, that language

between dead and living ghosts. Gotteniu.

Beloved. The words clung to your mouth,

your lips so dry that year we lied, I did it for you.

As an excuse to starve at first. To thin

closer to bone. To know how skin

wears us. The next year you were dead

and still I kept and keep on starving,

stretching out my hands to feel for ghosts,

for you and him and maybe Him.

Gotteniu. Ghost-God, Ghost-great thing

that ends or begins with father.