Saturday, February 15, 2014

From the Notebook of J Michel


I can’t speak of you in the past tense.
I’m stuck, I know; it hurts too much.
If I could somehow remember, then maybe I’d remember why I forgot.
I can’t speak of you in the past tense
Because in my mind you’ve only gone somewhere
That isn’t here. You’re still there somewhere, I just have to call you.
But I don’t know where, and the time difference is a pain. Maybe I’ll email.
In the present tense you’re still alive,
The present is where we are still together,
Where you laugh at my jokes
And I tell you all my secrets.
We talk until three in the morning, sitting outside;
“you make me happy –
I love you –
we have so much fun together”
I can’t speak of you in the past tense
Because to relegate you there forces me
Into the future. Without you.
“Ah ha!” I cry triumphantly, 
“didn’t you know that English has no real future tense? I’m staying in the present!”
Anger. Denial. Acceptance.
Past. Present. Future.
I don’t remember the day you died
Because memory will cleave you from me
And I cannot speak of you in the past tense.
In the end this charade will kill me.
Because I’m living in the present of a moment in the past.
And every time I prepare to ascend the mountain
Where covenants are sealed and broken
I tremble and I am afraid.
I can’t add you –I won’t add you to the piles of names
And the Yarhzeit lists;
Because I can’t sanctify the Name in their present

When I can’t speak your name in the past.

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