By Eva Ting

You occupied this space, once. Your voice carried as a warrior’s call, clear and brassy. Your speech – clipped and precise, a rapier slicing the air. Your endless spouting on politics, on love, on how tea ought to be drunk. Your hands – strong, athletic – never shaky, never fumbling. Space widened around you, aura rippling like a golden globule of oil in water. Every ounce of you, grounded.

Until to the ground you fell. Body flat, a forgotten plank. Gravity.

You disappeared without trumpets or kisses. No last glance from a twinkling eye, no wave from the closing elevator door. No letters, no cards, no sentences scribbled in haste on the back of some ripped note. Just sudden vacuum.

How does space become negative? How does nothingness become so unbearable?

We pressed our Sunday best. We spoke in measured tones and weighed words, dishing comfort like winter’s stew. We shuffled down corridors, rage dressed as sorrow. All the while muffling wails that would quiet a banshee.

Do we pay penitence now or are they coins too meager and too late?

Memories of you burst like sudden light – aurora borealis. Flash of brilliance, then pitch black.

Are you the dust and we the breath, or is the other way around? Perhaps you are here, waiting quietly in the dark. Are you touching the walls, pacing the floors, reaching out to brush our skin, missing bodies once warm and familiar?

Perhaps you tread with ghosts, drinking bowls of wine, pouring libations to the living. The silly, silly living. Perhaps the eyes of the dead see so much more than what the living will ever know or comprehend.

Or perhaps we squint, through darkened glass, searching for dappled sun to guide our trembling steps.


In memory:

Glen Camille El-Hayek

February 7, 1978 – March 22, 2011



2 Responses to “Letter to the Dead”

  1. […] Eva Ting’s new prose poem captures a moment of great loss and memorializes a friend. Read it here. […]

  2. […] Read Ting’s new prose poem, “Letter to the Dead,” here. […]

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