for Lucie Brock-Broido
I was there at the edge of Never,
of Once Been, bearing the night’s hide
stretched across the night sky,
awake with myself disappointing myself,
armed, legged & torsoed in the bed,
my head occupied by enemy forces,
mind not lost entire, but wandering
off the marked path ill-advisedly. This March
Lucie upped and died, and the funny show
of her smoky-throated world began to fade.
I didn’t know how much of me was made
by her, but now I know that this spooky art
in which we staple a thing
to our best sketch of a thing was done
under her direction, and here I am
at 4 AM, scratching a green pen over a notebook
bound in red leather in October.
It’s too warm for a fire. She’d hate that.
And the cats appear here only as apparitions
I glimpse sleeping in a chair, then
Wohin bist du entschwunden? I wise up,
know their likenesses are only inked
on my shoulder’s skin, their chipped ash poured
in twin cinerary jars downstairs. Gone
is gone, said the goose to the shrunken boy
in the mean-spirited Swedish children’s book
I love. I shouldn’t be writing this
at this age or any other. She mothered
a part of me that needed that, lit
a spirit-lantern to spin shapes inside
my obituary head, even though—
I’m nearly certain now—she’s dead.