For R.S.Jones

What am I doing in the bookstore?
I’m rounding out my day of
obsessing about your death by searching
forwards and acknowledgements
postscripts and author’s notes
tucked in the latest books of your writers.
As I suspected, brief lines of mention;
gratitude to “the late Robert Jones,” “ for the
kindness of my editors, particularly the
late Robert Jones.” Yes, I have found you-
fleeting little love letters to you-
months, almost a year, later.
Later! I have been late in all of this.
But I know what they mean, your writers.
I know the words that gallop
through the books in spasms of undertext,
undertow, with only you to save the swimmers.
I had a summer like that.
I’d walk down the lane of
the unkempt farmhouse I’d rented on Mecox Bay
through the tumbled riot of milkweed, chicory, queen
anne’s lace and yarrow,
to the rusty mailbox at the end
where there might be a letter from you,
full of what my poems had meant to you.
I was so far away then.
A letter from you might ground me for weeks, might
allow me to stop weeping in the underbrush
with the other scared rabbits,
fix a meal, have a coffee, smile at a beetle.
So let me just say,
thanks for throwing me a line.
I’d have drowned without it.

PBSweeney 7-23-02


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