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For Allan Abrams Sweet hyssop and the sweltering hives from which sail bees, their resolute flight into July, into my garden. There’s a swarm for the everyday clover. More for the needled heads of coneflowers. Two more are bristles past each other in the long arms of the purple sage. And on the porch you, a gardener, too, watch the sky gloom, cloud by cloud. Right now you want high drama, heat-wracked booms. The seams of sky and land split, menaced with the kind of danger that makes you feel alive. Your diagnosis, new and terminal. I kick the calf-deep mint to fill our noses with it, and mindless, crush oregano leaves between my palms. I’m usually good at this, the harder stuff. But it’s you. And from the distance of another year, I will tell you death is ugly and it’s tougher than last-call memoirs reveal. And yet, I have the shelter of words, of stepping back into this other scene, the thunderstorm here now, your grin as rain begins to pound the petals from the roses. And thunder drowns my voice, Hey,come inside — get out of this! But instead, your face grows radiant, as you call back, God, don’t you love it? Don’t you just love all this?
From Life Without Furniture (Jacar Press, 2018).