Where are your
wonderful ideas now? All ten thousand
of them, each one a tiny grain you
let loose in this world.
alone could fill all the space
between all the yellow cities on the map with a hollow
more empty than the echo of the emptiest of moved-from homes
I asked When? And How?
I was thirteen. My cousin, twelve.
It said I would be 41.
The same age my mother was that Christmas.
Elvis was 42 when he died. Jesus, 33.
this is where I can
still see you
in these gray branches
I, too, have friends dead from drugs,
guys I hung out with on my hometown streets
and in the war memorial park with wood railings
we kept falling off, too stoned to balance on.
Since the blues ought to be tall birds
wading and wailing
when the sun dies—
let the blues fill its lungs now
A woman laughs
and my daughter steps out of the radio.
Grief spreads in my throat like strep.
as if death had lit a pale light
in your flesh, your flesh
was cold to my touch, or not cold
but cool, cooling
Aretha, I apologize for having never written a poem
for or about you, not in all the Hit Parades of years
I’ve grooved to you…
“I still can’t bring myself to buy cucumbers. He loved them.” she says, but never mentions the car accident, or how she had blamed me for your drinking again…