Elegy for a man I barely knew
You were a good friend of my dads.
College buddies, drinking beer
and chasing girls.
You married friends,
moved into apartments down the hall
and started having babies.
then your family moved to Chicago.
My first memory of you
is a little blurry.
It was late, it must have been three,
or maybe four in the morning.
You and Ford and the kids
were staying with us.
I walked down stairs to find you
and drinking Tab
in our kitchen.
You were the only person my mom
ever let smoke in the house.
I sat across the table.
You shared your tab with me,
and I am pretty sure you talked
Our families vacationed together sometimes.
Destin Florida, I think you called it
“The Redneck Riviera”.
I always thought that was funny.
I bet your family misses you.
Husband and Father.
You worked at a bank,
I bet your co-workers miss you too.
I know that my dad misses you.
He talked about the time you two
went to Ireland,
how you slowed the rental car down
almost to a stop because you thought
that spotted dog
was driving a delivery van.
He laughs so hard at the story.
It was a few years ago
that he told me you had cancer.
I think he was trying to
scare me away from smoking.
I don’t think he ever
thought it would kill you.
That Hunter S. Thompson plastic filter
on your Lucky Strikes.
How you would tap the cigarette
on your watch-face and look
at the time all at once,
as if neither really mattered.
I guess they both matter now.
Now you are playing Cribbage with Jesus,
or just quietly laying in a really dark hole.
I don’t know what you really believed.
Either way people miss you
and love you.
I wish I had gotten to
know you better.