(for David Gardella)

my friend once made an ocean passage so seasick
he could only lie on his bunk and stare
working up resolve to drag himself on deck
in case there might be tankers
my beloved died five years ago
this summer I finally quit selling cars
last night in an undertow of forgetting
my hand sought hers and she held on
vanishing submerged until I was holding nothing
now half the hours of the day I sleep
and every three hours day and night
I wake and leave the house, walk up
and up a hill of dry grass
to scan the horizons for fire
where I grew up there was snow in winter
rain in spring, in fall we burned
leaves without a second thought
love and grief were only words
don’t tell me the news
I already know it
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