A crowd of faces, composed of singular experiences

Ten thousand tales

And one lonely room in which I sit.

A file: a face, a friend-

I cross myself and whisper a prayer.

I hold back tears . . . it takes no heroic effort,

Yet I feel their possibility.


Six months, five days; four months, one week; seven months,

And the half dozen others that emerge as I reflect upon their contemporaries.

How is it that one goes about articulating gratitude and loss in the midst of their happening?

Back then they were just words to bridge the gap of “here” and “no more”

Some regretfully as empty as they sounded,

Others fuller than either of us could articulate.


I sit with the last of them,

Stumbling through moments that ought to feel more profound.

And even as I speak in a voice I care not to hear again,

With words that will never feel quite right,

I recognize that something has happened.

And with that final handshake I know that we have both been changed.


He will celebrate,

I will cheer,

We will embrace,

And I will ingest the death that this renewed life has required.


Some days I am haunted by the memories

Of ghosts who go on living

Whom I will never see again.


                                                ~August 15th 2011