You for Quinton

always knew what to say when lightening shot the sky and gray fell into black birds disguised as leaves. If there is a soul, you were there when everything paled at the thought of death except red apples in the meadow where I ran to find you. I thought I heard you calling. It was so dark I stumbled, dirt filled my shoes, I needed to risk everything to see for myself. I flashed my camera into the night and saw red apples hanging, not yet taken by anything hungry. I remembered winter white and ice crystals pressed up tight against each apple, as quiet as the dead. Were you whispering? Or was that really the river, revealing how ignorantly hopeful I was, stumbling along the only path night allowed me, needing to see for myself, that red is still red, even at night, and you are always with me, even when you aren’t. The crescent moon glimmering in a cumulus  sky isn’t anything like your smile, not even close. The moon can’t break my heart, can’t smile as if all of the wisdom in the universe is only a bad joke and it’s O.K. You said so without words. It was the way you were before you handed me a sheaf of poems and told me they were the last poems you’d written. And now I know you meant it. You didn’t know how else to say, “Good-bye.”