Elegy for Michael Macklin

by Nadell Fishman

The loons on East Long Pond went silent
this morning; it’s a gray day and the chill
that rolled in from Canada last night

has autumn on its breezy finger tips.
Yesterday, a friend and I spent an hour catching up:
her summer days spent wrapping her mind

around the arthritis in her hands and knees;
my travels, the joys of packing and unpacking.
Our talk circled, an ever tightening gyre until we arrived at last

upon your name and how abruptly you left us,
disbelief still clanging about our heads. The viral emails
over your death in the days that followed gave us details,

but no outlet to apprehend, Michael, you’re gone.

We said that’s the best way to go, in your sleep
after an evening with friends. We said that’s how

we’d like it for ourselves. We said, so fast, we never

had a chance to say what? What would we say?
What don’t we say to each other every day of our lives

that we now regret not having said to you.
I wrote a note to your wife and son
and told them you always made the weekend coffee

three times a year when our writers group met
and how it would be ready when we’d straggle down
in the morning, strong coffee so strong, we’d complain

it became a joke, but how could we do without it?
You probably drank a bit that night, smoked
your beloved Marlboros, someone most likely
passed around a joint. It was late by the time you got into bed,
celebrating with friends, other writers
after the young students had gone off excited

to be at Bread Loaf in such heady company.
Was there music someone’s iPod
hooked up to tiny speakers on a table.

maybe a few satisfied dancers?  I remember
similar nights in grad school after a day
of good critique, feeling my work, my words

present in my body
and thinking how blessed and how
it didn’t get any better than this.