Chocolate Cake

Not even a year
since you’ve been gone,
and though I have no right
to weigh my loss
against your wife’s or your son’s—
or anyone else who knew you,
the weight was lifted a little
when just this afternoon
I saw a mutual friend
who knew you even longer
and better than me,
and she told me a story
about you and your favorite
curse word, and how you’d
be saying it now if you knew
that your art was featured
on a black T-shirt promoting
a local gallery, and we laughed,
and I said, “I loved him”—
and I said it as if I were saying
something as benign as
“I love chocolate cake”—
and she didn’t know I meant it
or how much, but saying those words
out loud for the first time
made me hope
(even though I know better)
you might have heard me.


DeMaris Gaunt



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