22. For Toby, in apology

Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” …Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also wish to go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” —John 6:60,67–68

We all knew you were dying. Even the cats
paid their respects, nuzzling you where you lay
in the kitchen. You gave us ample signs:
eager eyes grown jaundiced, graveled breath,
your playful body heavy on the bed.

I had eyes, but would not see.
I wanted answers. I wanted a second opinion.
Once more I helped you into the back of the car.

And so I got the call: Your heart gave out
on a table, in an office, alone.
By the time I fought the rush hour to your side
the truth was palpable, and cold.

We’re fools to trade our lives for phantom proof
when truth is there for taking, and for love.

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