Chris Bays In Memoriam

Bettye sent over a small tub of the potato salad
She had made for her family
When they honor Chris far away
Good rounded potatoes in a dressing all egg-yoked
And smoothed to cover the white Irish spuds
Enough for the two of us though I thought
I could handle it alone
Judith was sleeping, maybe
Some celery to give it crunch
And diced dill pickles and red pepper
Then the parsley I had grown on the slope
Leading up to the gate
Paprika just enough for a dusting
Mixed together with salt and pepper
Little sharp pebbles crusting the tillage
That looks better except
There are no tomatoes not yet

Now for some California living
Seated outside in the fading light
On the porch swing from Steve Geletko
Near the spot he sat to play viola
In the quartet when Lara married
And there’s a bottle of seltzer water beside me too

Eat, fork, look, scrape the sides, drink
So this is the heaven
Everybody is always talking about
I’ll take mine now
You all go ahead without me
Even the downhill neighbor’s dogs
Fall silent a long while
With incomprehensible

WJ Ray
June 2009

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