For the past few months, I haven't been able to read your work. Because every word punches me in the gut, so heavy with your precision and your decision. Every word brings you almost back, which is not enough. I am supposed to be writing about your work, now. I am writing about it. Without looking at it. Because I can't. Not yet. I know the poem. I was asked to do this. But just right now, I can't bear that almost presence I feel when I cradle each line with my eyes, drop off a cliff at every line break, catch my breath one more time before breaking down into tears after the last word. But today.
Today is your 41st birthday. Since then and now, 40 and 41, alive and passed away, I have visited the place you grew up. Not the place you were born, but near it. Or nearer it than I've ever been, at least. B posted this already. It seems appropriate. The way you feel home the way I feel that you're here. Almost. Like salted air. Like a confounding context. Not displacement. But like it.
Today I am feeling many losses. And I am feeling afraid of every loss that lies ahead. Today is the one day I feel safe in your poems instead of devastated. And I'm sorry that safe isn't the right word. And I'm sorry that I don't know what is. But I know what you would tell me if you were here. And today, that's enough.