A Lament for Georgia

Her impending death trickled in
By way of her friend through a telephone,
Bringing shock to the afternoon.
And yet at once more shocking
Is the sheer pace of transition
From lament to consolation—
From ‘does it have to be?’
To ‘it is and it will be.’

Somehow I accept its arrival as immanent.
The facticity of the thing;
The ceasing of a dear friend;
The ceasing of conversations;
Of chuckling over coffee, of—
Stop pouring the coffee.
Live on only in memory.
Converse only in hindsight.

In the place of your breath—
In the place of your footfalls
Leading into the cafe
The key into the ignition
The food you consumed for breakfast
The chair you would sit on, an antique—
Only your memory.

In the place of your breath, imagined footfalls;
Imagined keys churning inside a now second-hand automobile;
An imagined car pulling into a driveway that is no longer yours;
An imagined hot breakfast that is in fact long-since cold;
An imagined repose on a chair that has been brought somewhere else,
For some other, for a time.

My memory of you, detached from you,
Is brought to finality.
Now my memory has the last word.
Now my memory must talk to itself.
My memory of you it lives alone!
Severed from the memories of others of you,
Somehow my memory of you is accepted as enough:
It will have to do.

03/20/17

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