Just as we were about to get on the ferry back to Seattle
I came upon a used book store, and having run out of
things to read, ran inside and found your last book
of poems. I checked the price and the flyleaf—first edition.
Ten bucks—more than I wanted to pay,
but these little book stores need all the help
they can get and I was on vacation.
Go ahead, spring for it I said, and I did.
The boat was noisy inside and windy outside—
neither good for reading, so I’d read inside for a while
then go out on the deck and take in the scenery;
I noticed that there were carpets of little ripplets
on the face of the water, like scales on a fish,
where the wind wasn’t strong enough to make
a whitecap, just brushing the surface, like
rubbing a cat’s fur the wrong way.
I felt satisfied with myself that I’d thought of this
image, and went back inside to read again
from a book you put together after you’d
learned you hadn’t long to live.
I recalled reading, I couldn’t remember where,
that you were so desperate to write you’d take
pencil and paper to the laundromat and scribble
things down between the washing and the drying.
I stared out the window at the sea and
thought of writing down that conceit of the
fish scales and the waves and the cat’s fur,
but decided instead to just keep it in mind.