“And a man newly dead would really know. And a
poet would bear witness to that knowledge, if only
he could work out the way of getting it.”
—for Chris Gerber
In the fall, it is cold air and red leaves. I lift
the brittle bodies into my hands, crushing them,
the remnants sticking to my gloves,
others floating off—some on the wind, some
back to the ground, to where they’d first fallen.
These are the questions I have of the afterlife—
some falling, some floating, as if their remains
had been transformed into something lighter.
I was told once that only the dead would know, and
the rest of us could become poets, searching
for the answers to what only you would know—
Chris, only you could tell me, but now
you are gone, and the pain is like silt and sea water,
the fish diving for better water and finding none,
their bodies floating on the surface—look at the
kaleidoscope they make. Look at the parade
they’ve left for you, not one for every passing year
but one for every passing memory, murmur,
your passing—it looks skyward.