8 November 2006 | Vol. 6, No. 3


So that this will seem like words between

old friends, I'll say it was painless.

And quick. I'll say it was mercy

and behind my face where I put

things like The Truth and dreams about

supernovae, I'll try to mean it.

But it was his time, we should all admit.

Shouldn't we, who loved him

the way we love traffic

and cell phones during spectacular sex

and the degradations of puberty,

shouldn't we all feel

as though light were swelling within us,

inflaming us? Tell me where

you were when you heard

but tell me later, much later,

the kind of later mathematicians get excited about.

By then memory will have torn

away from my body like a scab

I'll no longer have to pick at

and I'll listen to you like a stethoscope.

It will be good for my heart.

It will be good for your heart.

In the air of that deferred spring

we'll be healthy, speaking

of an ancient wound neither of us

really remember, except

that by starlight we promised

to honor this question mark

in the periodic sentence of our lives.

Whatever you say, remember

that we cried. The dead love that we weep,

that we stain ourselves with

salt, that we become for a moment

indistinguishable from the sea,

that our shining faces rock with grief.

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About the author:

Paul Guest is the author of The Resurrection of the Body and the Ruin of the World, winner of the 2002 New Issues Prize, and Notes for My Body Double, winner of the 2006 Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His chapbook, Exit Interview, is available from New Michigan Press. Visit his blog.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Paul Guest at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 6, No. 3, where "Eulogy" ran on November 8, 2006. List other work with these same labels: poetry, elegy, editors' select.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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