I wasn’t good at sports, like he was, but when it was just the two of us, he liked to play pretend. That, I was good at. Whether we were knights or ninjas or mountain men or astronauts or soldiers in Vietnam, he listened with his whole self — intent, leaning in — to whatever story I was telling.
A middle-aged New England lawyer, you were dressed like a cowboy. This, as much as anything else, underscored that it was over between us. A suede-fringe jacket. Snakeskin boots with stacked heels. An oversized Stetson. What, I said, no spurs?
From the moment Ashlee asked me to be a bridesmaid, / I understood what my wedding gift needed / to be. It wasn’t the set of tumblers / I shipped her from 14th Street, daffodils and dandelions / climbing the sides. It wasn’t helping her angel of a mother / practice her speech, making pencil marks for pauses / and every deep breath. No, my gift / to Ashlee started when she told me Cate from college / would be a bridesmaid, too.
I held an iPad for Miguel as he lay in his hospital bed / so he could see his family sheltered at home. / He was suffocating, this man who at the worst of times / would only tell his loved ones, Me siento bien. / All around us the equipment of life / and death was buzzing, humming, beeping, / a stubborn choir of mockingbirds.