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Remembering ALZ
03.30.1952-04.20.2013

With gasping breath and unresponsive eyes
Is this what a person looks like when she’s sleeping paranoid?
Waiting for death,
did you think if you closed your eyes
you’d never see it?

Did you think you could hold on if you just stared it cold in the face?

Did you see me kneel beside you?
Did you hear me whisper regret,
swallow “I’m sorry”?

Or were they too shrouded in shame for you to know
I meant it
when I said I was supposed to save you?

Did your body feel me say I failed?

Weight of the world I believed in
crashing down under Arizona sunshine –
Heat rises.
Your spirit warmed enough to leave me

Carrying cold and tiny body
I couldn’t even –
no –
I didn’t – no –
I don’t
know what to do now that you’re gone
but here
but not.

Can I hold on if I stare it cold in the face?
You died with your eyes open.

I’ll just keep mine shut.

Wake me when it’s over –
I won’t have to feel a thing.

We, as humans, reach a threshold
where the pain is so much we can’t even remember
what it feels like to feel.
Sometimes,
all we can do  is let go
and keep our eyes open.

EJZ 04.20.2016

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It was April 20th

It was April 20th
when I took you out on the balcony
into the sun
and you died,
looking up

And I took you back to your bed
and lay next to you, crying,
looking up

And I saw two lights,
one yellow, one blue
and I had to let go
and let you be together

And I checked my phone
And I don’t know how many people had wished me a
Happy 4-20
Happy 4-20
Happy 4-20
Yeah…
I’ll light up a candle instead

It was April 20th
when I came to see you again,
this time in New York
This time it was pouring rain
and I said,
“Did you do this on purpose?”
Fitting, you’re the kind of melodramatic woman who would want a rainstorm on a day like this.

Well, I thought,
I just have to get over the Whitestone Bridge
in my little rental Mazda

but not without hydroplaning on the Hutch.

And I started feeling lonely and afraid.

And I said, OK,
Alright,
Focus, just
sing, just
keep yourself company

And as I hit the high note
in the EZ Pass lane
I had to stop.
In front of me, you were there
in a Subaru Forrester –
Anyway, the license plate bore your initials

And I checked the calendar
and it was still April 20th.

And I thought,
Just stay behind this car and you’ll be safe.

I was on 678 –
the road split, but you knew where I was going so I followed

and I was safe.

And I made it all the way to College Point Boulevard

and you didn’t take the exit.

“Goodbye,” I said,
“I’ll see you soon,”

and you saluted me with your right-turn signal

and the wind.

Looking down,
I saw two stones
on which I placed two more
to hold down two poems,
one for each of you.

This time I didn’t cry.

And I had to let go
and let us be together.

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EJZ 4.20.2015
Dedicated to ALZ
3.30.1952 – 4.20.2013