The Undergoing

After weeks of smoke
from wildfires in the Gorge, rain
and now crystalline

air. Snow in the Cas-
cades. Familiar Mt. Hood.
I keep seeing your

face, hearing you call —
just kids in the street, car lights
on the wall at night.

You’ve changed utterly
and not at all. Brightness falls
from the thinning trees.

Letting Go

If I abandon
myself to poetics, it’s
not to forget you.

Poetics reveals
coming to be, just as you
did when you danced for

me in the kitchen,
hoping to teach me something
about letting go.

Between the Cracks

Ceci misses you.
She snuggles against the piles
of books that rise from

the floor in your ab-
sense. This is how we live now.
She may wonder where

you’ve gone. Between you
and me her whole life happens.
Between you and me

not much happens now.
Do I glimpse between the cracks
the sparkling flowing

ground, the origin
of the play of shadows that
animates this life?

Becky Sharp

Every once in
a while she’d ask me, have you
read Vanity Fair?

I could not answer
with any certainty, which is
why she kept asking.

Or so I thought. Now
as so much else about her
dims, I can still hear

you ask that question.
Nothing for you is purely
literary. “Read”

does not mean for you
now or ever “interpret”
but “live.” You mean “live.”

Your Lovely Things

Today we sort clothes,
shoes, bags, which you cared for and
wore as parts of you.

This must be done. These
expressions of your dear self,
once lit from within,

lie in stacks around
the living room. You had such
style. It’s all too much.

You and Sue Townsend

Your consolation
daily hourly came from books —
Adrian Mole, whose

author you loved so.
I’d hear you laughing with Sue
Townsend, who suffered

so. By ‘so” I mean
not to presume, I couldn’t
help but laugh along.

Her Vowels

A personal note:
the theme that makes me live to
write (as Dante says) —

call it “divine ex-
cess” — shown forth the first time I
met my wife Toby.

A classroom at Brown —
Continuing Ed. In black,
honey mop of hair,

sitting yoga on
the hard schoolroom chair. “Toby.”
“I’m legally blind.”

The provocation
was in the vowels. New York?
The South? Mascara

not quite on. We talked
after class. Students wondered
who this “Toby” was.