Thursday, January 29, 2009

So Long, Jim


A longtime friend of mine died this morning at 5:20. You say what you can, you do what you can, and then you write a poem.

Jim’s Trip


As these things go, Jim’s trip
was not as awful
as it might have been.
Lots take longer.
Others, I’ve heard,
melted out of existence
like an Antarctica ice cliff
broken off, crashed down,
and dissipated through months
upon months of slow, sad diminishment.

It’s as if the plug pulled
out of a beach toy
and the breath of it
whooshed out in a rush,
then a sigh,
then little puffs—
not unlike the angel breaths
that set a dandelion’s tuft
on a flight to find
its appointed spot,
put down roots.

Jim has traced his circle,
closed his own circumference
now mute and publicly posted—
grace-glittered,
a bright, bare glint
on clear nights and dusky days.

Time to gather what truth there is:
however rote the shape
we all must paint,
though singular our strokes
and choice of colors,
Jim’s design is inescapable.
We can’t complete our own
without enfolding his.
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