Monday, July 23, 2007

hard things

People die over and over again, Tracy thought. Their physical death is just the beginning. Why hadn’t he seen this before: the death of someone you loved was your own involuntary initiation to the kiva of loss, an initiation that ended with your own death. It was the perfect initiation ceremony, and it was universal; he wished he could tell his friend.

How is it possible to miss someone, miss him as much as it was possible to miss him, and then miss him more? Until Algie died, Tracy always thought of missing someone as a condition—you either missed him or you didn’t. Then Algie was gone, and Tracy felt the absence of his body on earth, and felt that absence grow as if it were a number, negative in value but an integer nonetheless—expandable, manipulable, real.

The poem is incomplete, Tracy said to himself: it’s not just the death of any man that diminishes me, it’s the life, too.

--Sue Halpern, The Book of Hard Things

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