Friday, January 19, 2018

What losses we endure and anticipate...

Looking at your poem,
enumerating lives you'd known and lost,
I thought I'd write one, too.
I didn't think I had quite so many goodbyes to recount,
til I began to write them down.

Early on, there was Barbara,
and my grandparents, whom I barely remember,
and much later, Jeannie, from The Witness --
the first of the brains to be consumed from within --
and then that awful year,
with Martha on her birthday,
then Eston, and your mom -- two more brains, consumed --
and then my mom, and so my dad remarried,
and then died... that was hard.
There was Lou, of course, and Jon -- two more brains,
also consumed...

And then there were the children,
so very many children:
the dentist's son, who skied into a tree,
and his best friend, who later shot himself beside that grave.
Dean's son, and Garth, of course,
with all the losses that entailed;
Anne's daughter, from an overdose of drugs,
and Katie, beautiful Katie, her whole body
under attack, then lost at 12,
which set me on this path that I still follow...

And then, of course, your Dad,
who seemed to leave behind
much more than he took with him.

And there are the local ones --
Chloe's father, and then Mac,
Denise's husband, and then Frank --
but somehow those don't have quite the same impact.
Does that mean I'm growing jaded?

I don't think so, because I can feel myself
waiting for another shoe to drop.
Will it be yours? That tumor they removed
from your brain was so enormous,
that I'm awash in the memory
of all those other brains consumed,
but I'm trying to stay optimistic for your sake:
I so want all those new therapies to work.

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