by William Cordeiro

              in memoriam Mark Strand

I will die in Brooklyn, on a Saturday,
with the rain so thin it’s a memory
of rain, and the cold just settling in.

I’ll exhale a white plume as I say
my peace, one piece of the story,
since the air has revised me again.

I’ve been dying before I was born.
I’ve been dying for you to remember
my absence is the space you will fill.

My poems will surely transform.
Already, I’ve almost surrendered
my voice, which the wind will distill

in a blizzard’s confetti of scraps
until each syllable tastes like the snow
dissolving as it falls on your tongue.

I’ve waited till nothing has happened.
Ah, yesterday’s a lifetime ago,
but yesterday still hasn’t begun.

A prodigy, I died early and often.
As if meaning’s a circling back,
I’ve become the words I’ve erased.

Each letter approaches the coffin
formally dressed in dull black
to examine the lines on my face.

Then the letters throw dirt on my grave
and lean down a steep narrow road
before fading like breath on a mirror.

The self is a fragment I’ve saved,
this phrase for a never-sent note
which is perfect in spite of my errors.