For months your book of poems sat atop all the other books on my nightstand.
I would read a poem, or two, or three
And re-read them once, or twice.
And dream of you and me. We would sit.
You had no Minerva wisdom,
Manifesting a shimmering catalog model now leading a life of thought.
We would talk. And act. And each morning I would wake
And approve and wonder why you had visited.
As I have now come to the end of your work, the book set down
To be shelved soon,
I realized why you never had advice.
You were not a sage. You set the pen down and let the car run
And exhale its happily fine particled gas and smoke to fill
Your lungs more gently than the acrid burn of cigarette ash.
Little more warm smog than on a busy intersection and not moving.
The hum of activity making your garage both busy and alone.
You thought of your beautiful friend's undercalculated death.
Cassandra's last cry not meant as a final cry.
But she famously made a man's cheek trickle blood.
You thought of her and wanted to go.
Ten years on, the world drawn small
And unyielding and nothing shown for enduring it.
You knew you'd be a nuisance for those who found you.
But you wanted to go.
I close your book and my heart aches, but the world grows.
What we shared is the sigh of smarts to drown out our wants.
We heaved measured words and smiled and threw darts
From our desk chairs or living rooms with our feet up on ottomans
And won. We pinned down for a time the things that
We saw approach.
A victory of sight and talking over the whispering loam that sustains our homes
Until the brittle frames snap or rot from tremors or time or newer houses
And the earth that oozed us up sops us back in.
Your mind and wants and moans are on paper on my nightstand.
A cat has knocked that book to the floor many times.
You would have laughed each time.
That same cat now lays and warms my back as I write this,
My stomach on my bed,
In my bedroom over the garage.
As I shift its front claws stick to the back of my shirt.