A man I didn't know died yesterday
His wife the childhood best friend of my daughter.
Forty years, three lives, two thousand miles
Displaced from me. We practiced different arts
And worshipped different gods; we might as well
Never have both read Donne or loved women
And children who, like Epicurean atoms,
Swerved from time to time improbably
Within a single delicate orbit.
The question is whether the conscious mind
Transcends personal narrative in death,
Whether an unknown life now completed
Enlarges ours, its end informing ours
With its own fullness through the common points
Of unsuspected anecdotes.
Is hardly more than random noted moments
In an otherwise neglected life,
Why are we here? Lou said, to tell stories,
To keep each other entertained along
The common road we travel through this life.
—July 27 2012