I was trimming the mango tree that afternoon, a long time ago now.
My soul is sick without you, and I may not bloom again.
The telephone rang, I went into the house, but was too slow to answer it.
Give me some sign to hope, a wind’s sigh or a flickering light.
The message indicator blinked red and I hit play.
I’ll wait a while so all this aging runs by, the way rain fell when you’d died.
It was the wife of a Wisconsin friend saying he’d lost his fight with cancer, it had come back.
Waiting, my foot tapping time, to join you in that space of eternity.
The last time I’d talked to him he told me he had beaten it.
I knew how much they loved each other, wondered how she would live without him.
I went back out into the yard, and couldn’t remember his wife’s name.
It was an old-fashioned one, something like Esther or Beatrice.
That mango tree and I do constant battle right up until this very afternoon,
me hacking away, it growing back, always coming back, always.
Whenever I eat a mango from that tree I think of that day,
and I am always sorry for his wife whose name I’ve never recalled.