Thinking of Dennis Johnson
I stand at the living room window
Looking out on your kingdom
Seeing for you, now that you don’t,
And wondering what you thought
Of this house and your life in it,
Conducting business at this table
Clinching deals through email
Berating some poor schmuck by phone one minute
Reassuring your mother the next,
Like any good son.
You have not haunted me yet
Not been a Marley to my Scrooge
(Role reversal there, many would say)
But as Aritha suggested,
I may now be haunting you
By taking your place
Reading your books
Caretaking what you left behind
Your words still echoing in my memory
Sell more books!
Write this down!
No, this is what you need to do!
The exclamation points all yours.
How clearly I remember the words
Although the memory of your voice is fading.
Not realizing it really was the last time
I vowed we were finished,
And, as it turned out, we were, and that was forever.
Too late to regret any longer now.
I didn’t see you that final day
But I imagine you in that tropical home,
Slumped over the laptop
Fingering a glass of red wine with one hand
A cigarette clenched in the other
Smoke long-since vanished
The computer cursor tapping out a beat
Pointing to the latest deal on the screen.
So now, the Fates being as they are,
I find myself standing where you stood,
A year later,
Looking out, thinking, scheming,
About to make a deal.
Perhaps today I will buy a pack of cigarettes
And a bottle of scotch, single malt,
To toast your memory,
Or raise your ghost.