When I Hear That You Are Dead

written by KATIE MANNING

I have the urge to send you
an email. Instead, I read through
our long string of messages, chuckling
at our attempts to find a more fitting name than pen pal: type twin, key companion…
and tearing up again because you,
my self-appointed Santa,
surprised me with a poetry book last Christmas.
Observer of God and garbage,
Olive Garden and grief,
I could never get enough
of your thoughts: Shakespeare
and Chicago, baseball players
with names like exotic fruits.
For two years, you made me
believe a trip to the DMV
could be the stuff of poetry.
But now what do I do
with this grief I feel
I haven’t earned? I was made to beget.


first appeared in SKR Issue 5.4