Last week
On the drive home thru un-changed streets
was the first time I noticed the leaves had changed. Maple trees sport bursts of burnt gold and ocher rust like flame
Patches ignited from within like they know these dying days with waning light are beautiful
especially when we let ourselves be reminded that they’re leaving with it.
I can’t help but think of you.
Birthdays bear less than subtle needle pain loss why your heart chose two days before mine to stop I’ll never know but our birthdays and death days broke juxtaposed patterns like stillborn shutters those blind hands that cut threads saw a suture they could weave when you left.
And we stayed.
Reminded with our pastel candles that we are still here. Alive.
I didn’t keep the Cranberries CD or that pair of jeans nobody bothered to wrap gifts that year the idea of our birthdays too vulgar.
[I just looked up that album on amazon bc all I could remember was War Child how I couldn’t stop listening to it. To the Faithful Departed. Are you kidding me? God and His humor sometimes.]
But I remember that disc being plopped into my lap before or after your funeral I can’t remember. But my exact placement on the love seat and that numbness of life with no taste is photo album vivid.
I wonder if that is why I always feel undeserving of presents?
I passed those clusters of shivering colors and the number hit unexpected as the phone call that said “He was headed out on his tractor and hasn’t come back…”

Twenty years.
That number.
We’ve been taught to revere the accumulation of decade days to take notice of the solidity of zeros like stones when I was 20 I was engaged I was on the scabbed side of those fresh wounds and I was scrubbing salt out of the angry skin of others I’d outgrown childhood a lifetime in the solid round numbers and now…you’re 20 yrs gone.
More of my life spent without you than with but…you–permanent–.
So ingrained into the DNA of my days that I mourn the existence of that Oct 15th as it becomes the mountain that diminishes within its own horizon the farther away the road leads
To lose the potency of that day doesn’t stick and the hit of that number is a glimmer in the rear view In autumn especially on birthdays –I remember you– And we
Are the war torn past
The hope of that spirit world
And the fringe soul revivals
Of the present.