death next to my coffee shop

she stood smoking and crying,

this Monday morn (every mother)

next to the coffee shop I entered.

Hundred tall Target candles, most lit,

spell D A N N Y.  1 9 8 5 -- 2 0 1 3

"why did you have to leave me?"

she whimpers, and limps

up and down the sidewalk.

Alone now, pepsi in one hand, smoke

in the other, her hands are tied.

(her knee must have given up,

given out years ago)


Then they came, in casual wear,

in ordinary time, and plain sight:

her kin, smoking and crying too,

gathering around scotch-taped

cardboards taped to the crumbling

brick of this old Brooklyn brownstone.

(notes of farewell scribbled with black

permanent marker. permanent)


Friends and family (more kin than kind),

invited to write, bless and punch the wall:

"Look over us, Danny!" Rest in Paradise!"

1985-2013. (Attention must be paid)


Grief not tucked away, not now,

but shaken out in the open here,

on this sidewalk, this family block,

under this spring tree, on this sunny day

in this part of Brooklyn, (while some of us,

reading our day's fortune in the NYTimes,

sipping Cappuccinos, are barely aware

that a hooded stranger has stepped into

this our coffee house (his pit bull sitting

still, hungry and unafraid meeting my gaze)

may or may not be the bringer of bad news

to any of us. (We who are unaffected,

untouched, invincible, as of date) 1985-2013


The 9yr old girl has lost her the dad,

(spelled the same way back to front)

and knowing Loss by his first name,

(she has come of age far too soon)

her awkward pre-pubescent frame,

stands trembling between passerby

and candle-wax. Still too young to smoke

(but if she asked now, who would deny her)


Christ only knows what will happen now.

Christ. 1985-2013. The Pit Bull stares.


'Someone is grabbing McDonalds for breakfast'

I hear, for those here keeping wake.


'A freak accident' the aunt whispers.

(all death is freakish. all death is a freak)


The 2yr old boy (every father's son)

with braided hair, looking sharp,

stands and mirrors the photos of a man,

photos stapled and hung from stone,

(he may not remember this man years from now

but today he does. Today he knows and points).

'Can you say "Good morning Daddy"?'

his aunt asks him. Without pain, pause

or fear, (for God makes the very young resilient

to the chase of the utter-worst)

the son resembling the father well, stands tall,

(and far too young to smoke) says:

"Good morning daddy. Good morning."

(does he know something we don't?)


The Pit Bull turns and whimpers,

lies close to the ground,

still hungry, but less confident than before.