I blessed the Internet,
For it gave me the chance
To meet her.
“Yes, let’s meet, today,” she emailed—
Esmeralda was her name.
She had posted a picture of herself.
“It’s from three years ago,” she wrote;
“Now, I’m twenty-one.”
“You look like a pretty girl.
Sean is my name. I’m twenty-three.
You look like I could love you,” I typed.
We agreed to meet in the evening,
When the sun descends beyond the beach
And goes down into the sea, and
Slanting light touches the sand
And creates bright undulations on the shore.
“You look prettier than I thought,” I said.
“The picture is from three years ago,” she insisted.
“Still, I’ve never seen hair like deep-sea black coral
Covering the head of a girl. Nor have I seen
more beautiful black eyes than yours.
Your presence touches my soul.” I declared.
“Be careful; you may fall in love,” she warned.
“I already love the velvet touch,
Which your hands transmit;
The way your chest rises as your heart beats.”
She coughed, and coughed, and coughed again.
“And I already love__
“The way your lips part when coughing,”
I was going to add. But she cut me off.
“I will soon be dead,” she said
And she coughed more and still more.
The next day, Esmeralda passed away,
And I felt desolate.
To her grave, I brought a red rose
with a note:
The illness you did not invite in,
But it entered your body with no consent,
Ate your organs, bled your veins,
And made you cough to death.
But it also turned your cheeks rosy,
Your complexion pale,
Your eyes shiny,
And your figure slim—
It made you a fascinating girl.