Day 145 – Dangerous

If your heart were a piece of crystal torn from your body
I would keep it in my pocket, tuck it under my pillow
I would horde it for myself in Gollum’s cave

If you were a star resting high in the evening sky
I would wish on you, share my hopes with you
I would love you from a safe distance

But you are standing here before me
not a star but just a man
you are still the things you’ve done
and you are loud, you are thunder
you are dangerous

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Day 131 – For Doreen

I forgot to put on sunscreen for the funeral. I didn’t even change out my sneakers for the heels I had packed the night before, so worried about being respectful. I thought those things would matter but death has a way of mocking the little formalities we observe. The dead don’t care what you’re wearing.

But you would’ve reminded me about the sunscreen. The two of us, forever indoors and longing for the beach, our weekends filled with texting screenshots of art projects and Amazon purchases, were so looking forward to the summer we’ve earned. You took your vitamins and your Claritin and paid extra for the UV protection in your sunglasses. I skid in daily on four hours of sleep and haven’t eaten a real vegetable in weeks. Something in the great cosmic milieu tells me there’s something unfair in you being the one who had to go, and me being the one who got to stay. I can’t even remember to put on sunscreen.

Your funeral was filled with the sort of people who would not, and did not, care if I showed up in sneakers. They did not mind that I obviously have the self-preservation instincts of a small child, as evidenced by my beet-red arrival to the memorial. They didn’t judge because you didn’t judge.

You were so well-loved by everyone. It took me by surprise how much I had come to love you, not because of who you are but because of who I am. It may be self-centered to think about it, but I’m not sure I could scrounge up more than a handful of people if my funeral was tomorrow. I burn too many bridges. But you never did; even those who managed to offend you were treated with your signature grace. You left this world with no enemies, and you left it far better than you found it.

So perhaps, in the great cosmic milieu, there’s something fair after all about you being the one who earned that endless summer vacation, and me being the one who has to keep struggling on without you. Where you are you don’t need sunscreen; I’ll try to remember mine from now on.

Day 130 – Rocks

I know I am filling up my days
with rocks so I can
talk about how I stumble
I know exactly why each stone
is not enough

I sigh each time a pen
finds its way to my hands,
each time I lament out loud, “If only…”
and put it down
for another day
which isn’t coming

I know the fire is dead,
all smothered out
by the pebbles that life has dropped,
or so I have to believe
to keep on believing

I’m smart enough to fool myself,
busy enough to ignore
that there is a current running wild
inside my veins

and it is terrified that I
can’t make a spark

Day 129 – Patient

You’ve been holding on
and they’ve been holding out

They won’t tell us
how far you’ve gone

Days and days of
holding our breath

but they don’t feel
what we felt

when you opened your eyes

they don’t know
what we knew

that you wouldn’t give up
so easy

Day 113 – Another Beast

From the moment my fingers
close around my glasses
I am another beast

They close around steering wheels,
dry-erase markers,
red pens and credit cards,
zippers and shoelaces,
milk cartons,
band-aids,
and
chalk

but when they hold my glasses
like you’d hold a climbing rope
a stress ball, a life preserver;
like you’d hold a newborn,
a lightsaber, a key

I am ready to read
I am ready to see
I am ready to be free

Day 109 – Nonpartisan

You don’t have to pick a side, kid-
everyone’s out to get you.
You don’t have to pledge your life,
your faith or your trust.
Just keep your healthy cynicism,
look for the ones who stand to profit,
eye them all up and down,
friend and foe alike.
Everyone has allegiances,
everyone has closets;
pick and choose but remember-
never pick a side.