thank you, for everything

by Jerry Ratch


I was in life, in my dream. I was feeling around underneath your clothing. My fingers were shining in the underwater afterlife of memory, searching for those lovely nipple-sized mollusks. I lived in a land somewhere between the past and the future. Now I draw a few details from the present and send them in both directions.

I never lived exactly, but I never died either. It was exquisite to be here. A pleasure, as always. We call out to each other in reconciliation. I hear all of their names now in my ears. They are like a chorus to me. We are vessels, taking fearless inventory. I'm one too, just like you. I inherited next to nothing, and gave back everything.

I remember lounging around in that infamous Impressionist painting, Luncheon On My Ass. In heat like you, always in heat, and it was great. Just tremendous! We were underneath a tree, overlooking a river. You put your arm around my waist and leaned your head on my shoulder. It was getting dark and we both got up. I told you I had to be going. I don't know why.

And I remember when we wheeled my mom into the old folks home in Flagstaff, and she took one look around and said, “They're all old here.” But she took my hand in hers and told me, “I wanted to thank you, for everything. Just the words I want to say to you. For everything.”

I wept when we left her, knowing it was the last time I would see her. Ever.