Remembering Jeff

What I remember of him was

he never seemed to take things too seriously,

the spin of him, how he turned negatives positive,

found humor in bad situations,

the fine oscillation of his brain,

how he grabbed deep hold of everything he read,

absorbed it and made it his own, almost made him it,

as though he himself had written each word,

from Shakespeare to Dickinson, maybe was each word.

He told me that when he read Anna Karenina,

he’d lived with and loved her thoroughly,

so hard to the point of her becoming him, he her,

he only escaping death at the critical moment

because she let go his hand.

He hated allowing her to die alone, but, he said,

she’d made him believe he had goals to accomplish.

He laughed, when he told me this,

it was the last time we saw each other,

saying all signs pointed to her having been mistaken,

since he’d really accomplished nothing since that time.

Laughing, he said, he constantly imagined being ground beneath iron wheels.

When I heard through mutual friends that he’d passed away,

the news affected me much more than I’d have thought,

not having seen or heard from him for many years,

and as I walked out into the storm, struggling against the wind

whipping so hard I had to bow my head,

then blowing so fiercely I had to turn my back on it,

it then spinning me back around to face forward,

it seemed I’d somehow found him again, reconnected,

and together we pushed on forward toward home.

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