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.

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