Lay these words into the dead man's grave next to the almonds and black cherries--- tiny skulls and flowering blood-drops, eyes, and Thou, O bitterness that pillows his head. Lay these words on the dead man's eyelids like eyebrights, like medieval trumpet flowers that will flourish, this time, in the shade. Let the beheaded tulips glisten with rain. Lay these words on his drowned eyelids like coins or stars, ancillary eyes. Canopy the swollen sky with sunspots while thunder addresses the ground. Syllable by syllable, clawed and handled, the words have united in grief. It is the ghostly hour of lamentation, the void's turn, mournful and absolute. Lay these words on the dead man's lips like burning tongs, a tongue of flame. A scouring eagle wheels and shrieks. Let God pray to us for this man.
We walked on the bridge over the Chicago River
for what turned out to be the last time,
and I ate cotton candy, that sugary air,
that sweet blue light spun out of nothingness.
It was just a moment, really, nothing more,
but I remember marveling at the sturdy cables
of the bridge that held us up
and threading my fingers through the long
and slender fingers of my grandfather,
an old man from the Old World
who long ago disappeared into the nether regions.
And I remember that eight-year-old boy
who had tasted the sweetness of air,
which still clings to my mouth
and disappears when I breathe.