My Day of Poetry, My Poem (32)

Today I had the great honor and gift of taking a class titled “Ways Poetry Can Enliven, Illuminate, and Improve Your Prose” with poet and professor Julie Paegle. At one point, she gave us each a poem on a small sheet of paper that we can carry with us out in the world to memorize. Mine was “The Reassurance” by Thom Gunn. (I think it may have been her intention or prayer to participate with the universe when she handed them out. Each one was different, and more than one person said she must be psychic.) In one exercise we were told to read the poem she picked for us, choose something we loved or hated about it and take that with us into a poem we wrote ourselves. This is the poem that came to me.

I remember
the first time you came back
after you died.

We were sitting
outside a prison
at a round stone picnic table
near a chain link fence.

I said,
“What are you doing here?
You’re supposed to be dead.”

You smiled,
nodded.

I remember waking up
still shocked by your presence
not sure if I was glad
or annoyed
to know you could appear like that
so alive
anytime you wanted.