©2021 by Jack A. Urquhart
For Dillon (03.08.1979–08.02.2013)
Sometimes, once or twice a week,
domestic distractions fail me,
the baskets of dirty laundry
waiting to be washed, ironed,
and neatly put away,
the shelves collecting dust,
ashes of long-past conflagrations,
still banked and smoldering.
Sometimes this busy work
cannot keep you out of sight,
keep you out of mind.
So, I open the door
to the room where you reside,
step inside, pull up a chair,
and become occasionally yours.
I am careful not to overstay,
careful not to put us out
too much or too long.
No longer than a cup of coffee
or a shot of straight-up vodka.
For the die-hard truth is,
you are risky company.
Rather like a candle left alight
in my cluttered closet. Unchecked,
you could set the house ablaze,
you and your incendiary “what ifs.”
You know the ones I mean:
What if you’d become an artist
known for your drawings
of pain-faced creatures,
pock-marked moons swimming
within a pair of brimming eyes?
What if you’d escaped your spooks,
those G-Men surveilling, trailing you
down your darkest imaginings?
What if you’d found the one drug
that wouldn’t be the death of you—
the one that would set you free?
What if you’d lived?
Occasionally yours, in that bereft place,
that room where suppositions multiply,
I sit for a while pondering the possibilities
of your short-lived life,
wondering, what if you’d lived?
Wondering what if you’d just