The envelopes sit on my desk, addressed and stamped.
stamps, which never lose value. A promise
that this letter will reach him,
no matter how much time has passed.
Or what change.
There are three. To: Steve, From: Me.
To: Steve Who Is Dying, From: Me Who Is Not.
There were others. Letters of needs-be-said and consolation;
fervent, well-meant. Shells of heartful intent
which were, yet,
hollow and impotent.
I’ve a friend who smokes a pipe and does
He writes letters, too, and sends poems and skewed
photocopies of articles.
And these poems I sent to Steve. One each day, curated
and copied by hand.
(Electrons have no place in conversations with dying friends.)
What better could I have done than share
wisdom distilled through poets and friendship?
To spare him
the fumbling, thick-fingered ramble
of an inarticulate friend and get right
to the inarticulate point?
I prepared the envelopes in advance of a trip,
so I would remember and be
faithful. To flow as his life ebbed.
His death came as I left. The envelopes
addressed and stamped,
Forever never reaching him.