The Shock of the Now by John Grey

I learn of your death in the newspaper obits.
No facts. Just names of family.
But died at thirty-two is a fact unto its own.
Unlike ninety-three or eighty-five,
the years a woman expects to get.

It doesn’t say suicide
though the last poem I read of yours did.
Nor is there mention of an accident.
Or some deadly sickness.
The first, I could believe.
Even on the road, you sometimes
used your heart for eyes.
But you were always so youthful,
the kind of attitude, outlook,
that should have warned off any fatal disease.

It’s been three or four years since we last spoke.
My fault mostly.
I sometimes busy myself out of all human contact.
Besides, you qualified, however briefly,
as an ex.
Correspondence can be difficult in such circumstances.
For the past has a way of raising its ugly head.
Yes, but what if that head is beautiful?

I have no photos of you
and the one they published
is blurred and grainy.
But I do have those eggs you painted
canoodling on my mantel.
I will go on knowing you
by your choice of colors.

I ask the hard question,
“Is there something I could have done.”
Maybe that’s what’s missing in this obit.
You died of those
who didn’t do enough.

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