it isn’t right that I forgot to pray for you.
it’s easy to forget the ones
who seem like they’ve got it together.
but I think in the end
they need it most.
I didn’t know you were sick again
until I saw the obituary,
and I cried and cried and cried
until my heart felt like a desert between my ribs,
all bones and barrenness and mirage.
trapped before this rain-streaked window of a memory,
I wonder what I should’ve done better concerning you.
I could’ve been there
through the long nights I’m sure you had.
I could’ve written you words about the soft things,
the gentle sweetnesses of life that you loved and clung to–
written an escape from a world gone hard and bitter behind your back.
if nothing else I could’ve sent flowers on gray days
when you needed color more than anything else in the world.
and at the very last, when even color was no comfort
compared to the great dark before you,
I could’ve held your hand
and shown you that God is not so hard as He’s made out to be,
that He can be the arms that catch you
where arms like mine had failed.
I’m left snatching at the would-have-been,
clutching tightly against me tattered threads of memory,
weaving what comfort I can out of them.
a pall for your long pain, a veil for my loss.
beneath my shroud all these edges are softened,
the hardest lines smoothed away.
and yet, in my rain-gray world, all color is blending together,
and I think this is one painting I won’t be able to save.
only one Artist can make something of this mess.
odd—I thought all colors mixed together made brown.
but I see only the most dismal, inescapable gray imaginable.
these are the sort of things only death can teach you, I guess.
look, I know I could not have done right by you,
as much as you deserved it,
and maybe that’s as it should be.
I just wish I had remembered you better in my prayers.