Returns of the Day, a prose poem by @EvryManJac

 

 

 

 

 

©2019 by Jack A. Urquhart
(for Dillon from Dad)

Today is your birthday.
You would’ve been forty years old.
Forty!  Imagine that.

Sometimes I do.

I imagine what you might’ve become,
And how you could’ve been healed,
the role I should’ve played.
I conjure the special person
whom you might’ve found,
and the life you could’ve shared,
the lives you might’ve sown.

I know there is no good in this.
And yet the mind will run wild.

It will try to imagine
what’s become of you now,
where you might be,
that fabled afterlife
of prophecy and pulpits,
tales told in tongues of men and angels.
All become as sounding brass,
now that you’ve gone beyond the noise;
now that you’ve vanished—poof!
into the great unknowable.

Only your ashes kept close bring comfort.

I am not ready to let the least of you go;
not ready to relinquish the unreal conditional You:
all the birthdays that might’ve been,
the “should haves” and “could haves”
that mark the returns of the day.

About jaurquhart

Jack Andrew Urquhart was born in the American South. Following undergraduate work at the University of Florida, Gainesville, he taught in Florida's public schools. He earned a Master of Arts degree in English, Creative Writing, from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was the winner of the Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Award for Fiction (1991). His work has appeared online at Clapboard House Literary Journal, Crazyhorse Literary Journal, and Standards: The International Journal of Multicultural Studies. He is the author of So They Say, a collection of self-contained, inter-connected stories and the short story, They Say You Can Stop Yourself Breathing. Formerly a writing instructor at the University of Colorado’s Writing Program, Mr. Urquhart was, until 2010, a senior analyst for the Judicial Branch of California. He resides in southern California.
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