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For Jane-Bear 9 Years Later


You

Warned me about the snakes
that slithered through the
hospital corridors,

About the men who were
picking the building up
and slamming it down

You

Screamed that I
had killed your dog –

You

Remembered a childhood horse
when I gave you
a Stargazer lily,
for Stargazer was that horse’s name

Your beautiful, angry,
stroke-shocked mind
could no longer keep your regrets at bay

And you, finally,
let me touch you with love,
asked my forgiveness
for a lifetime of madness and terror
and pain,
for a lifetime of fury, violent,
insane

***
You

Asked my forgiveness

It was already given

Then you sighed,
closed your eyes
& found your dog
across the Rainbow Bridge,
having finally achieved
your empty version of Heaven

***

I did not know then,
do not know now,
how to grieve for you

The relief is
so strong,
that you are gone,
and it tears at my heart,
my missing you

The bond is so complex
so strong

Entwined through all
the brutality, the tyrannical,
tortuous beatings

And the kindness, the interest,
the occasional fondness,
whose moments were so fleeting
as to seem
to have not happened at all,

Except for the ghosts they’ve left behind,
shadows of sporadic hope
which rise like desert dust
under the aching paucity
of a random summer rain

***

But I never
said good-bye to you,
don’t know how

You
and your incredible, intelligent,
ultimately wasted mind --

You and your
virulent, hateful, astonishing fury,
your certainty that
life is
best measured in hands on horses
& Latin and French translations,

You the teacher,
you the sweet bear,
you the epitome of harpies and gargoyles
are so much
a part of my colors, so much
a part of the flavors of me
that I cannot begin
to
let you go,
to
release you
to your fondly,
desperately wished for
nothingness

From which you thought you came,
& to which, you prayed,
(beseeching a god you did not know)
you would eventually return

***

As long as I’m alive,
you are too

And I hear your voice
speaking your words
using my mouth
in the most unexpected moments,

And I feel sometimes
I
think your thoughts,

Especially when I
am being contemptuous,
my mental lips pulled up in sneer,
of things I do not know

It scares me
to be so like you
yet it comforts me
to keep you in my heart

Where, all my life,
amidst the bedlam and the rage,
amidst the weird safety
of even the most nightmarish familiarity,

I have
always loved you,
always feared you,
always wished you well

And so,
even as I start to say
the words which bid adieu,

I find I only
hold you nearer,
hold you dearer,
and miss you afresh,
miss you anew

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