A Vigil In San Francisco
We gave you a vigil in front of the lamp-post
in Union Square where you spent the last of your days.
* * *
It still does not seem real:
On Good Friday at sunset, the night
before the blood moon,
a man’s voice left a message
from an unknown number,
“This is an emergency phone call,
I have some very sad news.”
He asked if I was next of kin,
did I know next of kin?
I was no longer your girlfriend,
but always your friend.
You had died on April Fool’s Day.
I’m still waiting for someone to say April Fool’s.
* * *
Upon first glance,
there is little that is welcoming in Union Square.
All around are convex edges and sharp surfaces-
metallic benches, concrete boxes,
shapes that are un-natural, unfriendly.
The statue of Victory Pillar has curvatures,
but it they are high above, out of reach.
It is a place of squares upon squares upon squares,
and little that is concave, welcoming, or spherical,
and the homeless are who no one wants to see.
* * *
The Union Square security guards
allowed all the candles, the bottles of vodka.
They even attended, and donated to your funeral fund,
because you always had a smile
and never gave them any trouble.
I could do nothing, really, but stand in front of your lamp-post,
take a few shots of vodka,
and read my poems about things that became
words and turn back into things again-
And then the words from the same book I am teaching this semester,
“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world?
Our father, who art in nature.”