for marie (1951–2018)
after steven died, you would show up
on occasional friday nights
for my creative writing class, the one
you, my favorite local poet, could
have taught, arrive without poem
or pen, saying you just wanted to sit.
and so you did, sometimes with eyes
closed, a meditating quan yin amid
students scribbling in composition
books in the old trailer by the football
stadium less than a mile from your
house. now, almost a decade later,
what i have left are your poems.
i barely sleep; you arrive in dreams,
meet me in the sweet café—also
recently gone—on capitol avenue,
or back in that classroom, your slight
form origami’d into a tiny desk,
your eyes closed, holding the space
for all of us, listening to me lecture,
but i cannot hear myself. i focus on
your plummy eyelids, your chest
rising and falling with soft breath,
the jade beads of your mala
circling your wrist, you who embody
lovingkindness, having left the body
that was no longer serving you.
i whisper your name; your
purple eyelids smile at me.
you, my friend; you, the poem.