Frances Richey

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Frances Richey

Dear H,

Just before sunrise they called
to tell me you’d died.

I couldn’t stay at my desk.
I had to get out—

walk the city concrete
in my ridiculous heels,
berate myself

for what I’d told you.
Do you remember
when you were distraught

because you didn’t believe
in anything?

You asked me what I thought.

I’d felt a room fill
with a man’s spirit
as his eyes set—

the most important part of him
still palpable.

I told you I believe the soul goes on.
Right in front of the New York
Public Library, to no one
but the sky—
                            What if I’d been wrong?

What if you were in some torturous place
worse than what you’d suffered
here on earth?

I imagined your body
empty of you on the white sheets,
your arms so thin

the bracelet you’d fashioned,
braided strands of red, green
and yellow clay,

could be moved up your arm
and over your shoulder—
                                                  Don’t worry, 

I’m okay. I looked up.
                                         Infinite blue,

that weren’t mine
inside my head. My God,
was it you?

I half expected to hear you say,
                                                                               who else?

Frances Richey reads “Dear H,”

Frances Richey  is the author of three poetry collections:  The Warrior  (Viking Penguin 2008),  The Burning Point  (White Pine Press 2004), and the chapbook,  Voices of the Guard, (Clackamas Community College 2010). She teaches an on-going poetry writing class at Himan Brown Senior Program at the 92nd Street Y in NYC and is the Poetry Editor for upstreet literary magazine.