Prentiss Moore, 1947-1998
I’d been so busy with the bookstore that we’d not been in touch. I always thought we’d have time for that breakfast, for those drinks, for that laughter. I heard about his death only minutes before the memorial gathering was to begin. Stunned, and dressed in my standard bookseller’s uniform of jeans and wrinkled shirt, unshaven, I felt inadequate to the occasion, betrayed, embarrassed. The clear sky pressed uncomfortably close. How dare he die! Why did I not know? The ground shifted underfoot and I walked like a man underwater. I swatted at a buzzing wasp, not caring if it retaliated. And for the first time I realized that I, too, was dying. We all were. We all are. The gathering was lovely, memorable. Friends, family, acquaintances and even strangers spoke. I could not.
I once said that I hoped to become half the poet that Prentiss was. I may finally be approaching that elusive mark, but I’m still angry. How dare he die!
To read one of his most memorable poems, please look here:
And my poem for Prentiss can be found on this blog: