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One night she came creeping
– startled me from sleep
with cold, eager hands –
leaning in for a kiss.

In shock and defiance,
I refused her,
so she stole a hug instead,
and as she engulfed me
everyone and everything
I ever loved rose up,
one-by-one to visit,
and fell away cleansed
in boundless waves.

When she was done
my bedroom had changed.
When I got up
my house had changed.
When I left for work
the streets had changed.
When I returned home
I knew I’d changed.

This is what happens
when Death steals a hug.