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Midlife (from Designated Mourner, ECW, 2014)

Always, your family lived by water,
each summer spent their days on a smallish
sloop, beer & sandwiches in the hold,
on the deck, layers of inflatable dinghies
ready to become ideas of paradise, pumped up, pitched
into the cold Elysium of Okanagan Lake.

A picture of you at 15 in the boat’s plastic seat:
ball cap, white Marvel shirt, a grin of such innocence,
as if, wholly, you were innocent, smiling like a child
first learns to walk, hesitance spreading to ecstasy,

no knowledge that you were in midlife already,
that in less than 15 years you would be dead, the day
was so bright; everything held the sun.

[for Chris Matzigkeit, 1981-2010]