I've heard it in a hundred voices –
Low and trembling, a rushed and
stuttered attempt, and slurred
intoxicated guilt,

shrinking into the last lamplight,
his hand upon my back, resting
in a calm statement of fact,

gazing into my sister's eyes,
welcoming her to my evensong,
though she can only guess its origin.

Perhaps I will memorize every word
before the year is out
and recite it to my beloved
before he flips through the pages
to add his voice among the others.