so what if i outlived you, acrid sweat stench of your blue-lined pillow

so what if i outlived you, sharp male camp barracks ammonia of loneliness

so what if i outlived you, gestures, expressions, phrases, moments, feelings

so what if i outlived you, urine-drenched piles of clothes sabro and i threw in the washing machines—all stolen later, you said, unwatched in the same laundromat (exasperated, because who would wear any of your clothes?)

so what if i outlived you, wabash street storefront rental space

so what if i outlived you, phonecalls saying you’d been found in the street somewhere, taken to ER

so what if i outlived you, calling up from the sidewalk in front of chinese restaurant in vallejo, walking around trying to find you, you answered laughing, from the dark upstairs window

so what if i outlived you, night ride sitting behind you on a motorcycle through a 20th century monterey

so what if i outlived you, sitting in front of the desk of a mortuary man who says that the coroner does not allow us to see the body at the coroner’s, you have to pay extra and wait days to transfer it

so what if i outlived you, sea lions barking down on the breakwater at night

so what if i outlived you, seagulls calling

so what if i outlived you, photo of you standing in front of mexican hat rock—only now i noticed you look beat up and washed out (maybe i was ignoring it, maybe i am noticing again)

so what if i outlived you, your boots that were crap (that fell apart right away), the boots that did not fit (free), the boots that you liked

so what if i outlived you, radio station KPIG 107.5 still playing

so what if i outlived you, we met a writer, supposedly a friend, at the campground at monument valley when nights went below freezing (we were the only ones in the whole place, we had it to ourselves on late winter afternoons—he stayed in nearby kayenta motel), he took me aside, told me he had to leave—he couldn’t take the way you looked—you scared him away—never heard from him again—

so what if i outlived you, that american country where some of my students live, where millions still live

so what if i outlived you, your clothes in black trash bags deposited at thrift stores

so what if i outlived you, california coast like your flushed face and grin

so what if i outlived you, and nobody knows any of these things about you except maybe zeus (in our rush, sabro and i threw all the cassette tapes away)

so what if i outlived you, i tried to say some of it at the memorial

so what if i outlived you, john and his roommates can use your pots and pans (john still writes me little notes, he still owes me money)

so what if i outlived you, your jackets and coats hung unused in the closets, so that when looked in the daylight, it was this strange sort of orange color that reappeared in a photograph 20 or 30 years old

so what if i outlived you, turkey vulture over the coast range

so what if i outlived you, i told mom there was nothing that needed to be done now

so what if i outlived you, sabro and i drove up one last time

so what if i outlived you, fucking cheap beer can with cigarette ashes on it

so what if i outlived you, something you said comes back to me

so what if i outlived you, i have boxes of letters from you both

dark-lightning

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