after The Book of Questions

This mate of many years and I
are placed in separate but identical rooms:
mine is empty, except for a button
attached to the wall and a large
school clock that I know
is ticking away at the last sixty minutes
of one of our lives. I can save his

by alerting an authority beyond
this room with the pressure
of my thumb, but this gesture
would signal my own death.
The mate has this same option –
to save me through self-sacrifice.

What must he be thinking?
This man whose soul I have slipped
again and again inside me.
If neither of us acts
within the hour,
we will both die instantly.

As for our child….
What would you do?
You who have all
the time in the world
to say goodbye.

© 1995, Leilani Wright

Leilani Wright is editor of Contemporary Arizona Poets: An Anthology, which will be published by the University of Arizona Press in 1996. Her poems have recently appeared in Planet: The Welsh Internationalist. "The Dissolution" was previously published in Blue Mesa Review. She would welcome comments at cervantes@mc.maricopa.edu.