October 8, 2011


So that this will seem like words between
old friends, I’ll say it was painless.
And quick. I’ll say it was mercy
and behind my face where I put
things like The Truth and dreams about
supernovae, I’ll try to mean it.
But it was his time, we should all admit.
Shouldn’t we, who loved him
the way we love traffic
and cell phones during spectacular sex
and the degradations of puberty,
shouldn’t we all feel
as though light were swelling within us,
inflaming us? Tell me where
you were when you heard
but tell me later, much later,
the kind of later mathematicians get excited about.
By then memory will have torn
away from my body like a scab
I’ll no longer have to pick at
and I’ll listen to you like a stethoscope.
It will be good for my heart.
It will be good for your heart.
In the air of that deferred spring
we’ll be healthy, speaking
of an ancient wound neither of us
really remember, except
that by starlight we promised
to honor this question mark
in the periodic sentence of our lives.
Whatever you say, remember
that we cried. The dead love that we weep,
that we stain ourselves with
salt, that we become for a moment
indistinguishable from the sea,
that our shining faces rock with grief.

-- paul guest

mom's birthday 2001

we've gone six years without you. there is nothing else to say. I still remember at the wake, all the photos we'd found up on the board. pictures of me at age eleven, with my wild hair, riding on your back; pictures of all of us after one of my recitals, or ashley's swimming lessons, or travis's baseball games. "he was so proud of you," a total stranger said to me, standing by the casket. I had not really had a clue.

time passes and we learn to move on, but stevie, we miss you as much as ever.

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