On the Death of a Friend


A telephone call
Is marked by the fearful urgency
That death will bring.
Suddenly,
We don’t have the practiced luxury
Of coming together for a last time.

But you will bring this great pause to us,
Moments of bird songs
And moving water.
Inward, I can see years as spaces,
Filled with people, moments, and habits,
And maybe, in this, Grace:
Saving us from the curse of time.

And now our words,
Wrapped in a fearful gauze of hope
That there is some neat way
To package it all up
Send you on,
Send me on.

These are the useless words,
The real words were then,
Filling all those spaces.
Now, we can only unwind something in us,
Take pause,
In this calloused space of no stories.

There is no book sitting on a table,
Waiting to be read.

And neither of us cared to anyhow.

We would be careful
not to reflect and linger
too long.

In the fleeting grasp,
Of those struggling moments,
that precede absence,
How I will remember our speechless last words.
Only in,
“I love you”
Is there summary
Of time’s wrenching hands.

Despite our rehearsals,
We are not so good
At allowing death
To be the one fluid motion it longs to be.

I love you too, Paul.

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