Then It Goes Dark

Seamus Heaney’s last words to his wife
were a text—words not on paper
but still written: letter by letter, with a finger

or both thumbs. “Yes, but do you know
what he texted?” my professor friend
Douglas asks. We’re lunching on

fish tacos and iced tea here on 44th Street
and I answer slowly, carefully,
Noli timere”: words I copy out later

in my notebook in all caps to be sure
I get it right. “God, that’s so Heaney of him
to sign off in Latin,” Doug says,