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…
ate only bites but
always well: warm boysenberry pie,
bone broth matzoh ball soup
“If his songs were allowed to exist in the world—so simply written, so profoundly beautiful —surely there was room for other good, decent things, too.”
And survivors with numbers tattooed on their arms, straight as a
the ink indelibly blue, unlike the blessedly changing ocean.
What he wished was to have his ashes flushed
down the ladies’ room toilet of Syracuse City Hall,
which would so clog the pipes that the resulting
blast of glutinous broth would douse the place clean
her infinite soprano
and my street drawl voicing words that could
depress a saint
What can I name my grief, again, today?
A nickel frozen in the sidewalk?
A tumbling paper bag?