Final Actuary

The first, a sister, was an I told you so, an
I could see it coming for years; the second, 
a youngest brother, an aberration,
startling, unexpected, difficult to comprehend,

now, every morning, needing only the fingers on one hand,
we count; we clean and spruce up;
we take our own measure;
now, some of us together, some of us alone, now
we wait.


It was perfect.
Only a few inches long, probably
pigeon or seagull, white
soft with a little bit of dove-gray
running through the innervane
above the afterfeathers.
“Look,” I said to my companion,
“A feather for Minet”
I repositioned my walking stick,
shifted by bag and parcels to
the opposite shoulder and bent down,
reached to almost the spot where it rested
at the edge on the flagstone walkway
before I remembered.


Why do we zero in on some things, and overlook others?

News outlets expose the ramifications of the Ebola outbreaks and what it has meant to some and what it might meant to others. I watch dispassionately.

Videos of dying children in Gaza and Israel go viral. I watch dispassionately.

Ebola and War affect more people and have the potential to change the entire world. Yet, for some reason I have compassion fatigue.

One participant — in a sport I don’t even enjoy — dies after he runs out into oncoming traffic, and I discuss it with friends for at least two days.

One actor takes his own life and time shuts down.

I have the same relationship with Robin Williams this morning as I did yesterday morning. I knew him through his work – movies, comedy skits, television – and all those things are still available. For years, I have been aware in at least a peripheral way that despite the funny exterior, he had a very serious and sometimes troubled interior, so I can’t even claim that what happened was a complete surprise.

The stupid, senseless loss of a young, vibrant racecar driver is shocking and provokes a great deal of anger.

I can’t even articulate my emotions regarding the loss of Robin Williams.

Pathetic Fallacy at the Cinema

It isn’t like in the movie where seabirds arc perfectly
higher and higher
and the beautiful actor with the rich baritone voice is carried
motionless from the surf:
his muscles rippled like the Pietà;
his drenched shirt a lullaby against his skin.
There is no omniscient narrator toasting another birthday.
There never is another birthday,
never a measurable way to hold the ruined sands of our hearts.
There is only a phone
at the dark of the morning