(This is a very early draft. I anticipate that changes will be made.)
You were sitting beside me on a couch made for two.
You were describing the death of a relative, how she
had gotten a diagnosis of cancer, and needed treatment,
but the treatment didn't work, and it was painful besides,
and she died shortly after. I shook my head gently.
"No, that's not what happened. You had cancer, J-----.
And you died." And then you smiled, silent, as if
to say, "That's true." Next thing I know, I was wailing,
lamenting to some other friend, "I miss her! I miss J-----!
It's been less than three months, and I've forgotten
what her voice sounds like!" And then I woke up,
bewildered at one in the morning, eleven weeks exactly
since the rainy Saturday of your death. You've been
"visiting" all your friends like this, in dreams,
for fleeting glimpses, brief hellos from the Great Beyond.
Newly awake, the knife of your death alive again in me,
I sobbed for an hour and keened your blessed name
to angels and saints, to God, to the bedroom ceiling.
And I was grateful. Grateful for this pang of grief. Grateful
for this sharp clear anamnesis, this remembrance of you,
my cherished friend whose voice was solace and strength,
whose eyes were my refuge, whose smile was my rest.
Poetry by Thomas DeFreitas
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Written on 2018-10-20 at 13:52
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