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Behind the Bookshelf

To make sense of death is

To make sense of life.

I thought myself

Prepared for grief while

Watching a movie in which

Tears poured down faces

Coalescing with rain

Flowing over black umbrellas

Over black dresses

Into softened Earth.

I fancied myself

Emotionally adept

When tears ran down

My own cheeks

And the heartache of a

Symphony of

Near misses

Burned my soul;

You leaving,

You coming back,

You loving me,

You leaving again,

And so on.

But when my mother told me

In passing through the kitchen,

Me slamming cupboards

Open and closed

In search of an elusive

Measuring cup,

That you had passed away,

It feels cliché to say that

It didn’t feel real and yet

It didn’t feel real,

Not in some sort of

Numb, frozen, shocked way,

But because in my mind

Your pristine image,

Capital “Y” You,

Exists untarnished,

As real as if I had

Dialed your number

You’d have picked up

And, hearing your smile,

I would berate my mother

For trying to convince me

That heaven is not on Earth.

Death in America is unlike

Death anywhere else in the world.

A nation of immigrants,

Away from hearth

And ancestors

And solid ground

We float in our

City in the sky,

Unaware that

Heaven is not next door

But concealed behind some


Long forgotten.

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