In View of the Fact
The people of my time are passing away: my wife is baking for a funeral, a 60-year-old who died suddenly, when the phone rings, and it's Ruth we care so much about in intensive care: it was once weddings that came so thick and fast, and then, first babies, such a hullabaloo: now, it's this that and the other and somebody else gone or on the brink: well, we never thought we would live forever (although we did) and now it looks like we won't: some of us are losing a leg to diabetes, some don't know what they went downstairs for, some know that a hired watchful person is around, some like to touch the cane tip into something steady, so nice: we have already lost so many, brushed the loss of ourselves ourselves: our address books for so long a slow scramble now are palimpsests, scribbles and scratches: our index cards for Christmases, birthdays, Halloweens drop clean away into sympathies: at the same time we are getting used to so many leaving, we are hanging on with a grip to the ones left: we are not giving up on the congestive heart failure or brain tumors, on the nice old men left in empty houses or on the widows who decide to travel a lot: we think the sun may shine someday when we'll drink wine together and think of what used to be: until we die we will remember every single thing, recall every word, love every loss: then we will, as we must, leave it to others to love, love that can grow brighter and deeper till the very end, gaining strength and getting more precious all the way. . . .
"In View of the Fact" is reprinted from Bosh and Flapdoodle by A. R. Ammons. Copyright © 2005. With permission of the publisher, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc.