In memory of Jeanette Bonnier (1934–2016)

Someone dear to me
Rises from her hospice bed,
Removes her body and her hair,
Starts walking through the air transparently,
Starts walking through the air going somewhere.
Then I woke.

Birds singing ask if I believe in God.
The buds are budding on the trees.
Which seems so out of date to ask.
I don’t but do.
I believe in you.
It’s almost spring.

The planted center strip of Broadway
That tweets your voice, your face, your fate, starts to dawn.
I’ve been away.
They burst with buds.
In London and in Stockholm,
I survived.

And when God asks if you believe in God,
It’s Stage IV pancreatic cancer asking.
A body asks if I believe.
In Stockholm, I do not.
The buds are budding on the trees on Broadway.
Birds are singing.

Thunder is my favorite color,
As are you. Lightning. But no more
Back and forth incessantly
On missions.
I just got back.
A hopeless mission.

Waded into an Asia
Of very deep morphine.
Kill death.
You can’t until you die.
O death O death.
You can’t kill death until you die.

I’d like to be a dove flying back and forth
Above the concrete fjord of Manhattan Island.
I bring green sprigs
Of nothing for a nest.
Sprigs of hope.
There is no hope.

Jeanette, the takeaway from this
Is spring is in effect
To no effect. Jeanette,
I don’t believe
But do
In nothingness but try.


Hail, Christel Engelbert, full of grace,
Jeanette Bonnier’s astonishing niece!
Who sat by Jeanette’s hospice bed,
Coming to the hospice day after day,
And vastness filled the small room—
And the hilarious name Engelbert was a sky full of stars.

And a sky full of stars sat next to the bed
In broad daylight and many nights.
Rare beings like Christel Engelbert
Flow calmly like a candle flame.
Hour after hour Christel sat,
The night before Jeanette died, till Jeanette finally slept.