From her bed she sang
in the depthless voice of Dust-
y Springfield. She danced

like Dusty in the
kitchen of her desires. Now,
one year from her death,

I sing and dance a-
long in the universal
impermanence, the

space we still share with
what she loved —- the beautiful,
the just, the just once.

Author: Tom D'Evelyn

Tom D'Evelyn is a private editor and writing tutor in Cranston RI and, thanks to the web, across the US and in the UK. He can be reached at D'Evelyn has a PhD in Comparative Literature from UC Berkeley. Before retiring he held positions at The Christian Science Monitor, Harvard University Press, Boston University and Brown University. He ran a literary agency for ten years, publishing books by Leonard Nathan and Arthur Quinn, among others. Before moving to Portland OR he was managing editor at Single Island Press, Portsmouth NH. He blogs at and other sites.

4 thoughts on “Toby”

  1. This is a moving and fitting poem for Toby. The reader is moved from the opening specific images of Toby singing and dancing –Dusty Springfield, kitchen, desires– to the poet’s vantage-point as he looks back, that vantage-=point which is both necessary to creating those images and surplus to them. The poet is at once sympathetic, the sould stretched, and detached. And yet in the closing lines the reflection on reality, life’s (im)permanence and love’s complexity comes to a tingling crescendo in the poem’s conslusion as it lifts off from and remains in the singular finitude of creation.


  2. I’m just so sad, Tom. Your poems have been so full of Toby, and in this one, I can hear her and see her.
    I’m at a loss for words. My heart goes out to you. jenifer


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