And now I know what most deeply connects us
after that summer so many years ago,
and it isn’t poetry, although it is poetry,
and it isn’t illness, although we have that in common,
and it isn’t gratitude for every moment,
even the terrifying ones, even the physical pain,
though we are halfway through
it, or even the way you describe the magnificence
of being alive, catching a glimpse,
in the store window, of your blowing hair and chapped lips,
though it is beautiful, it is; but it is
that you’re my friend out here on the far reaches
of what humans can find out about each other.
"Coda" by Jason Shinder. Published in American Poetry Review (November/December, 2008). © Jason Shinder.
This poem was written during the illness that claimed the poet's life in April 2008.
Art credit: "Wind," photograph by AislingImages (originally black and white).