After I tell you about the homicidal
maniac at work, you tell me you have
news, too, and I hear the drop in your
voice–maybe a couple of notes–
I don’t know, I’m not a musician.
I hear Dr. Yudelman’s name and next,
about his precision since he’s a
South African. You tell me, usually he
sends his patients home with the
sentence–“Six to twelve months”;
but how he can’t with you because you
are remarkable. He has even gone to
hear your poetry.
You are the blue-capped pigeon, the
eternal pilgrim, the loyal first mate
when the blackness came and you
could no longer see the Towers from
your bedroom window, your daily
first sighting. You said: “People were
offering water and food! No one was
breaking and entering! Indian restaurants
kept their doors open and made food
hot with sterno!
“Socialism,” I offer, not being there.
“On a good day,” you add, I know
I don’t know what I’d do without you.
You don’t hear me because I haven’t
said it, because you can read thoughts.
Our voices become whispers–gone
underground beneath the weight of
the good Doctor’s sentence. We do not
talk about the usual–the writing, the
children or the mundane matter of
making a living.
I poke my words through the receiver.
We’ve got so much left to do,
you and I–travel, make more poetry,
figure out the riddle of what you call
your latest self-discovery–
to accept love.
I say I can help you with that ’cause it
has been difficult for me as well.
So I offer, “Do the things that make
you strong.” You hold on to that as
a morning bell, tolling, swinging
back and forth.
We stay on the line. I have nowhere
to go. We will brave the elements
as always, together.
To my pal, Fay Chiang, approaching
the 4th anniversary of her passing
Teru Judy Kanazawa