Thick, Obscuring Mist

Ronnie Spector sings
my favorite Marshall Crenshaw song
on the radio. She’s been gone
three days. You’ve been gone
more than three decades.

The last time I saw you,
we sat in your car
parked in my mother’s driveway

after a winter break night
of dancing. We talked so long,
the windows fogged up. We laughed
to think of my mother’s neighbors
getting the wrong idea. Did I tell you

about him? That summer of showers
and late night collisions.
The delicious waste of time.

I would never get the chance
to tell you the story
of how he and I would swim
in a Connecticut pond
during a lightning storm.

You were like Ronnie Spector
that May night—your death too unripe
to pick, to make something of.

Diving into the black water below,
exhaling into the black sky above,
the crackle and boom of it all,
how could I know I was making a pact
with my duende—some desperate

“take me, not her” bargain?
It would hang in the electrfied air.
Never again so painfully alive.

So alone. Nightmares about you
dying all over again
played on repeat
as I slept on trains
across Europe that summer.

Your absence does not vaporize
as it teaches me
to dance with my duende.

The dark, ruined rhythms
keep coming.
Nothing about you
was wasted.
There’s never enough time.

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