For the Pulp Fiction Writer of the Forties
Who Published under Pseudonyms
–in memory of Don James
The stars could have told me when you died
but so many flashed half-facts and lies.
None of your friends said a word of truth
and to them it seemed forgivable.
So many flashes of half-facts and lies:
the newspapers did what they always do
and to some it seemed forgivable.
Had I known, I would have cried that night.
The newspapers did what they always do–
they forgot your novels and your stories.
Had I known, I could have cried that night–
losing you meant more to me than stargazing.
Everyone forgot about your novels and your stories
and later told silly anecdotes about your mistress.
Losing you meant more to me than stargazing
but the cold stars moved on and away.
Later your friends told silly anecdotes
without a word of truth.
The cold stars moved on and away–
they should have told me when you died.
announces itself like a tsunami
slamming rice paper and wood riven
from angry sea scapes
before the outgoing tide
or the green-sky musky tornado
rains flay the most elegant oak
and then comes day after day
that low drip of vitality
that robs the sunny day of gleam
to turn it harsh and naked,
erodes a familiar path
you thought you walked.
Once or twice you forget
the leaks until some stretch
after–then you remember what
you had that brought you joy.
Tricia Knoll moved to Vermont from Oregon three years ago. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her recent chapbook Checkered Mates is now available from Kelsay Books. Website: triciaknoll.com