This is for you, Kirk,
who today shot yourself in a park
a year after making out with my wife
before she was my wife. I don’t know
hardly anything about you, only that
my wife cried really quietly over you.
I hope you didn’t feel too alone. I hope
you saw something pretty in the minutes
before you went. So this is for you,
and the ineffable connections between us.

This is for you, my cousin, my George,
who would’ve been at my wedding.
We are almost the same age, your ghost
and I, and I don’t know how to get any older
without you.

This is for you, Perry,
and for the girl whose bra you bit
backstage, and for your paintball
magazines, and your calculus genius.
It’s been like ten years and I still can’t
stop seeing how the car floating in mid-air
must’ve looked to you as it interrupted
the vaulting winter light
in the perfect sky.

This is for you, Ted,
who thought you might let me know
that you knew what I was doing
and the god I’d found, just so
I might not feel so alone.
This is for you, who died
with flowers in your hand
on the side of the highway
in the middle of Memorial Day’s
long afternoon.

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© 2009

Odes

Arna Hemenway