The Day After

It’s too soon to write a poem

about the way the waves sounded different

and I leapt from bed, pierced to the heart by the knowledge

that this was the first day of the rest of the days forever different.

It’s too soon to confess I stole your red plaid shirt

simply because I couldn’t bear to let the frayed fabric

hang limply on an abandoned hanger.

It’s too soon to listen for you

in the music you breathed like oxygen;

to hear your thick gentle fingers

stumble with reverence through Mozart or Beethoven

as I play the piano, two hands alone.

It’s too soon to tell the tale

of how I watched a loon dive and swim in the rising sun’s gaze.

And how, just as I turned to leave, it called out and halted me.

How I wanted it to be you, sending a sign from wherever you are.

It’s too soon to be comforted

by cognizance that any loon’s call

is a message from what will always be your world,

no matter how altered its landscape.

It’s too soon.

(for my father, October 23, 1995)