And that day when I found out I’d missed the funeral and no one had told me when or where and I wondered if I hadn’t been a good enough friend to be invited, as if it were a party or a contest, and of course ascribed it to grief or oversight or the loss of a phone number, even though her husband had called to let me know she was dying….and there I was in a hotel in New York after my husband’s bladder cancer surgery and we were headed to dinner and I texted her a picture of the cavern of the street and said I miss you and do you think Cuomo’s really in the shit now and then, she was gone.
I should have called just one more time. I knew you were close, legs swollen and bleeding at the faintest touch, unable to walk, but your laugh still loud. You’re a good kid— that’s what you said, even in my fifties, and I was grateful. Now, you’re just the latest in a line of vanishings, puffs of smoke lingering over a vacant railroad track, little white clouds hovering in empty air.
And there you were in your recliner, the dinner tray served while we packed to leave, Mom for the night and us to return to Connecticut, and you bit into your grilled cheese, a long string of it looping between your lips and the sandwich, and your blank puzzled look at my Oh Dad, as if you could comprehend neither the problem nor the solution, you who had lifted a jet off a carrier over the Mediterranean, who had built the table on which I write this, searching out antique boards with just the right amount of knot, whose hands I still see running carefully over marble sculpture or Persian rugs, teaching me touch. A week later, you were gone.