Some Thoughts on Men in Passing


The men in my life have been leaving

this week. That’s nothing new and why

I would not for long years venture

into their territory. But I miss

them. Men are like waves. They lap

at the shore, and recede, leaving.


My father, for instance, left

a love for laughing,

a willful temper, eggplant parmagiana. Fear

and fascination for flying.

Ray left—but that’s too soon.

I’m still stunned by his passing.

Blue eyes like that should never die!

I saw him the other day, hovering

over the ocean like God in Dali’s Last Supper.

He was grinning.


Even that blind date (the quick assessment over tea

that doesn’t leave time for unfolding

starched and pressed into our desired forms

we present ourselves like clean clothes) left

a new perception. There are no second chances.

I could use some instruction—a map

of the territory might help me find

a man who is more like a rock.


I was reading about edge theory

—that at the intersection of two ecosystems

new life grows, emergant forms have their inception.

When a lake shrinks in a drought

(the waters’ receding an imprecise ripple)

the shore wrinkles around it,

like elephant hide. Does anything grow

there? What about awareness? Is that

a fresh form of life? And reflections?

The shore mirrors the elephant and he it.

Can we learn from that?


What forms are possible when life shrinks?

When one person dies, does it matter?

If the ocean diminished by the mass of one man

who would notice? How many people

does a world need? Surely,

we can spare a few. My father,

perhaps. My friend. What is one man

here or there? Then, or now?


I’ll tell you, when you love someone

then they are gone, you lose faith.

You may grow some back, but

it will never look the same. The sea

just got smaller. The earth

crinkled. The mind

can’t get itself around death.

And faith is a cold ocean.

But it keeps lapping at the shore.




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