• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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When We Open the Next Door (For William Norcross)

We were swimming underwater,
the film from seaweed already
compromising sight,
when we heard the news
that you were gone.
Your once strong, beating heart
now silent.

We were looking in the rearview mirror,
ignoring the horizon.
You quietly slipped away,
inside time’s envelope.

Our rushed flurry through life
abruptly stopped.
The lights now seem dimmer
with you gone.
We are swimming in
even murkier waters.

Our once asleep selves
This is what happens
in the dawn of grief.
Our pulse quickens,
then slows to molasses.
Our eyes burn
from the brightness of loss,
the sharp pang


When We Open the Next Door (For William Norcross)

of presence ripped
from our tongues.

In place of oxygen,
there are roots growing—
the echo of your chuckle,
the way your nose would wrinkle,
and your eyes would squint,
when telling a raunchy joke,
that Matthew Sweet song you played
endlessly during showers.

Memories lengthen,
like the wide-open arms of your Nana
waiting to greet you.

The song, “Entreat Me Not to Leave Thee,”
sings in my head.
This is a temporary goodbye,
until we hear your guitar playing
for each of us,
when we open the next door.