make out with him a bit, this
is what my friend would like to do
oh these too many dead summers later,
and as much as I want to stroll with her
into the poet's hazy fancy
all I can see is O'Hara's long gone lips
fallen free of the bone, those two damp slugs
slumbering beneath the grainy soil.
I can hear Frank's dry voice
combing the air for song, but what I see
is his skeleton entombed in dust, wrapped
in his dapper suit, his razzle-dazzle sunglasses.
She sees him alive, ambling
down a sidewalk, all of New York
clambering into the sky behind him,
cuff links winking, his dear friends waving,
calling him by name like they do in the city:
800,000 people and you step outside for a smoke
and see someone you know.
That's how it is with death.
Those you love come at you like lightening,
crackle for an instant—so kissable—
and then lips and all, they're gone.
Dorianne Laux's newest poetry collection, The Book of Men, was published by W.W. Norton in 2011. Her book Dark Charms was published by Red Dragonfly Press in 2010 and Superman: The Chapbook, also by Red Dragonfly Press, was published in January 2008. Her previous and fourth book of poems, Facts about the Moon, published by W.W. Norton in 2005, was a finalist for the Lenore Marshall Award and winner of the Oregon Book Award. She is also author of three collections of poetry from BOA Editions: Awake (1990), introduced by Philip Levine; What We Carry (1994), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Smoke (2000). She is co-author, with Kim Addonizio, of The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry (W.W. Norton, 1997). Her work has appeared in The Norton Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and has been twice included in Best American Poetry. She has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, two fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. She now lives, with her husband, poet Joseph Millar, in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she serves among the faculty at North Carolina State University.