When they hear you've died, even now,
so many people don't know what to say. I don't get it.
I thought death was a well-known thing
as compared to when my parents
stopped working. You'd think with AIDs,
the War in Iraq, and 9/11, word had gotten out.
If I were still a technical writer,
I'd put together an instruction manual for co-workers
who avert their eyes,
or tell me how they've sprained an ankle,
or wait for me to call and ask for help.
They are the rescuers.
But what can I tell my friends who stop by my desk
with their unsolicited gentleness,
explain to them how our rivers diverged,
even as I held you between my thighs,
rocked with the great mystery
of who you were?
It's the finality, the caesura
of our lives.
What's left is notation,
written on the face
of our children, the G clef
of how much we once loved each other.