Grade A: To a Dead Ex-Friend

Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), April 2012:  addressed to Pat F., RIP.  I heard about Pat’s death of a long illness (which I’d also been unaware of) from my ex-wife Leora on her return from a trip to India.  She said she wanted to say something to Pat’s husband Mike, but couldn’t begin to think what.  I wrote the poem immediately after learning the news.  Published in Wings of the Gray Moon.

To a Dead Ex-Friend

 

The day, always the adobe colors

of the earth and walls around here,

is such a flood, it’s laborious

to think of you taken into the night

of your small dwindling bones.

You always appeared to me,

even after we quit speaking,

with the gleaming edges of someone

I used to be infatuated with

and/or lusted after, and it seems this morning

a proper way to mourn your death

would be to jerk off:  but that’d be

the me you knew, the cutely unsafe one

you liked and totally distrusted

and when I divorced your best friend

cut off without a word, without wasting breath.

I want to react as I am now,

a monogamist, at peace, understanding

your deep marriage, deepest I’ve ever known,

and be able to say something (something unimaginable)

to your widower, something that wouldn’t defile

the pure and final secrecy of his new life.

As if the most urgent thing for me

were to impress you!  I’ll say nothing to Mike.

I know what he wants to do:

yank Nature’s ribs and raw meat apart

and shred her in pieces, and put God on notice

of what he’s got coming.

Someone in the day, like me, has only words

like a useless snow, that’ll only be helpful rain

after a slow long time, if ever.

Meanwhile I’ll hear your small calm voice

and how it never said a single word of forgiveness

and know that you were right, and you were good.

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