in memory of Donald Hall

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Everything is coming back
but you.

The leaves on the maple,
the purple honeysuckle,
the warm air.

People are waking up
in the morning, making coffee,
making breakfast
for their children

and acting like you never existed.

Nothing stopped but you.
And that was the horrible part.

I remember the first time
I was hungry after you died
and how strange that felt.

The swallows and nightingales
and swifts.

Everything is coming back
without you.


in memory of Ralph Angel

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Last night an animal walked
slowly through the grass
in the yard and the moonlight

in the air. A slow animal
with muscles and teeth and fur.

I thought about what I would do
if instead of the yard it was
walking through my room,
walking toward my child’s bed

and everything felt horrible
and I remembered you had died

and the sound of the animal
slowly moved away and was gone.
If you were here

you would have walked out,
in bare feet, in the cold dark grass,
and put your arms around it.


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In this dream Carl has
his parents back,
back in a green kitchen

in Illinois. And Mark, Mark
has his father back

and is walking with him
right now in London,
holding hands beneath the gray

and white, needlepoint sky.
In this dream I am dying

and my children are filling
up an IV bag with red
Jell-O which, in the dream

I am having, is medicine.
In this dream Mike’s mother
remains alive

and the cancer she has fought
off for years

get’s washed away in a small
load of laundry
filled mainly with her husband’s
socks and underwear.

In this dream Dorianne’s
mother and Joe’s older brother
who was very like
a father both drive up in the same car.

My youngest bends over
the bed and pats me on the cheek
and says

poppa this medicine is going
to work cause’ it’s really yummy.

My oldest sits at the foot
of the bed and says

this is not going well, I think
we should just stop.

In this dream Sharon’s father
comes back but changed, kinder,
a man who only loves,

and my mother’s father
comes back too, still horribly

young and sits with his now
older-than-him daughter
and asks where his wife is

who just then walks into
the room in a blue summer dress
holding a porcelain bowl
of fat blackberries

and hands them to my oldest
son and says

feed these to that man in bed,
he has no idea
about the living or the dead.

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