AS YOU PASSED ME
on the Casa Loma path, lobelia in bloom,
things I’d talked over with my analyst
sang in my mind. You’d been dead six years,
why lift the veil for me just then? Yesterday I posted
your 1942 photo booth picture, and Stan wrote,
Playboy. Another shared the post. You were Dad,
Dad who let me drag him by his hand from front door
to kitchen where not one but two kittens nestled
in the warmth of the stove, the winter cold
releasing from the wool of your overcoat. This may
be my first memory. I was three, you were thirtynine,
unhappiness at a job eating you.
He had your gait, he wore a suit, and as he passed
he smiled, then looks at me, and says, Hello,
John-Prine-like: Hello in there. Hello.
Gretchen gave me a handful of Doris’s ashes,
put them in a vintage diner maple syrup dispenser,
wrapped it in one of Doris’s scarves. I set it on
my dresser. One night before bed her muffled voice
crying, Help! And what about the Brazilian spoon
lying on the kitchen table, which as I enter
to make my first cappuccino of that day
announces unmistakably, Your beloved is coming.
Or the shaman stone from Chile, one among
six round stones in my bowl, but the only
one Michael picks up, to comment, Why is there a star
roughly engraved here? I think you’d understand
why I don’t dismiss these events, but neither do I claim
to know what brings the mysteries to our doors,
or why we suddenly see out of blind living.
I cannot answer (Phyllis Webb), only ask. In-fighting
over who the Makers are eat me. Flee the power,
go instead where there is no place that does not see you
no matter how dialogic, no matter how accommodating,
flying in the face of the ointments. Hello brave
failure, another kind of place says, here comes your own
true love across the 11:11 auspices that bind you
to your dead. Hello in there. Hello
from here. Hello.