You will rest your head, your strength once saving.
And when you wake you will fly away, holding tight to the legs of all your angels. Goodbye my love, into your blue, blue eyes, your blue, blue world,
you’re my baby blue.
– Dave Matthews, Baby Blue
The moment held too much air yet not quite enough. The candle flames blurred a bit as my heart ricocheted in my chest cavity, which felt simultaneously cavernous and quite small. The cocktail party, two rooms over, hummed and sent bursts of punctuated laughter into my space.
There it was on the wine bottle: Baby Blue.
I looked around the room, searching, I suppose, for some other connections, an indication, perhaps, or proof, that this was no coincidence. Along with the billowing curtains and the October night, carrying the scent fermented leaves, I stood alone with my memories.
Present and past | collide
two threads tangled, knotted into palpable
Suddenly, every nuance weighty with converged significance:
black lab walks in
burst of wind
Earth, rain-soaked breezes dancing on potted, hot orange flames.
Four truncated days | to hold
to say Goodnight to the Old Lady Whispering Hush
to greet and bury
to say Goodnight, Goodbye.
No steps celebrated.
No nails clipped.
No cakes baked scrapes kissed sibling arguments birthday balloons popped cookie dough eaten. No vacations tantrums time-outs. No late-night fevers nursed.
A funeral | A hellogoodbye.
Grief. Agonizing, brutal, suffocating coal-black,
leaving tenacious smudges through decades.
Baby Blue dancing on stars/ Bouncing on Red Balloons,
Baby Blue on a wine bottle in my hands,
memories billow in the October night,
lazy leaves meander through the dark
pass inky tree trunks
mosaic on the earth
of what would be should be the beginning of your ninth year.
Eyes stinging, chest cleaving,
I tip the full bottle into my empty wine glass.
I raise it and nod to the emptiness, the fullness, and
you, Baby Blue.
In loving memory of my nephew, Michael. October 19 – 22, 2003