with him a bit, this
is what my friend would like to do
oh these too many dead summers later,
and as much as I want to stroll with her
into the poet's hazy fancy
all I can see is O'Hara's long gone lips
fallen free of the bone, those two damp slugs
slumbering beneath the grainy soil.
I can hear Frank's dry voice
combing the air for song, but what I see
is his skeleton entombed in dust, wrapped
in his dapper suit, his razzle-dazzle sunglasses.
She sees him alive, ambling
down a sidewalk, all of New York
clambering into the sky behind him,
cuff links winking, his dear friends waving,
calling him by name like they do in the city:
800,000 people and you step outside for a smoke
and see someone you know.
That's how it is with death.
Those you love come at you like lightening,
crackle for an instant—so kissable—
and then lips and all, they're gone.
A finalist for the National Book Critics
Circle Award, Dorianne Laux's fourth book of poems, Facts
about the Moon (W.W. Norton), is the recipient of the Oregon
Book Award and was short-listed for the Lenore Marshall Poetry
Prize. Laux is also author of Awake (1990) What We Carry (1994)
Smoke (2000) and Superman: The Chapbook (2008). Her work has
appeared in the Best of APR, Best American Poetry, Best of
the Web and The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry. She
taught for 15 years at the University of Oregon in Eugene
and since 2004, at Pacific University's Low-Residency MFA
Program. She and her husband, poet Joseph Millar, recently
moved to Raleigh where she has joined the
faculty at North Carolina State University.