In Memoriam (They Don’t Know)


is this pressure--not 
unlike the kind that makes a diamond,
the kind that holds your breath      just out of reach--

to perform grief       out loud,
to put it on stage for all the world to see
to paint it     the brightest shade      and splash it everywhere.

Writing this is performing.
Sharing this is putting it on stage.
Reading this is painting it, splashing it.

Because if a girl cries alone 
in bed and no one is around to see it, to hear
her, did her sadness really exist? Does she really

I feel
it; Inside,
I'm screaming at the night asking; the tears
are flowing without care; snot
drip drip dripping; my heart
beats like it forgot   how to; starting  pausing
for much too long;
I laugh with friends,
I send an email  and then another and another,
I smile at a joke from the tv screen,
I read until I'm full then I read   more,
I stare at my phone,
I blink away  tears   because

I suddenly remember:
His voice, deep enough to fill the grand canyon; His cologne, the perfect marker of  “I was here, here I was; His accent, hugging pidgin like a close friend; His kangol cap, sitting squarely like a firefighter’s helmet; His skin, the deeper side of midnight; His five days gone, two days here, twenty-one plus ways of making my younger siblings smile, laugh - it’s them I really feel for; His willingness to say "yes" where mother said "no": a trip to Chuck E. Cheeses, to the candy store, to McDonalds; His presence, silent  but echoing in his own way; why why why?

I don't know why you did.
I don't know why you died.

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