Monday, April 28, 2008

elegy letter poem

Dear Peter

Day One
Where was I when you died?
Where was I when you died?
Where was I when you died?
I tape the worn folder instead.
Better to fix—save the old.
I have no pictures of you/us.
The theme today is firsts.
Seems today, it’s always about firsts.
Whatever happened to the lasts?
What was you last?

Day three
Days later and I’m re-obsessed.
Thousands of miles and three years ago,
only now does Chicago hear.
April 18, 2005, three days before Lenny’s birthday.
Does that matter? Make a difference?
Freezing here and smoldering there, regardless.
Who held your hand?
Who wiped your brow and talked nonsense,
to keep/get your mind awake—active—alive?
I read about Las Mariposas instead.

Suffering of others is so much easier.
The unseen—the preferred.
Rush hour traffic builds on Sheridan.
Buses and sirens a welcome diversion.
Lenny’s getting married, it’s why we searched.
He’s lost two father figures in two years.
Lizzie’s left last year.
The unseen is handsome caramel in a cream suit.
The wedding is peaches and cream.
A confection lacking.

Why a death to spark longing?
I must call Jason to understand.
Said he was upset, couldn’t find my number.
Lenny doesn’t believe him, Kim warned him.
He left an apology on my voicemail.
“Please don’t yell at me.”
Three days ago—three years ago.
What is there to say?
The cats are sleeping and the news is on.

Day Fourteen
Unannounced, flaming through the saganaki.
Admission of guilt not anger.
Yet still, I’ve not called Jason.
You think he knows? Of course,
he’s guilty too. We chose life
and forgot, looked away, denied death.
The voices that scream back, hands that reach,
tears that flow without meaning.
Still, I was denied, my selfishness.
No grieving as I grieved a week for Skipper.

How ironic, I fight for prison reform now.
Dismissed your experience, and carried Lenny’s
only to bury the hatchet years later. Blame.
It’s always blame, a respite from the guilt.
Strength, as a noun or a verb, is there a difference?
Strong going in, strong coming out,
regardless of the in between. Is that logical?
Weak coming in, weak going out,
regardless of the in between. This is life?
The cats are sleeping and butterflies are call.

Dates: birth date, wedding date, graduation date,
dates hold such significance yet unnoticed.
The date Chicago heard, was the death date.
January 18, 2008—April 18, 2005.
Just noticed this moment, this day, this hour late,
33 months, 1000 days, how many hours late?
How many significant moments unnoticed?
How many noticed insignificant without a moment?
Count the stars, count the way, number the hairs
and still not have a clue, even when the cats are awake.

Day Eighteen
Today I apply for utility assistance and ask for food.
Things just didn’t turn out the way we planned, did they?
Me retired to the mountains.
You riding your Harley in the mountains.
Kids happy, secure and responsible,
and life grand in the joyous golden years.
I can no longer make a decision and go with it.
I feel you did though, and I think it was an easy one.
Was it? Easy to just say enough? Done? Goodbye?

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