I have a friend who is dying. We’ve been penpals for almost 30 years, since I was a teenager.
I’ve never met him in person, but I saw his photo: he is an old white guy who lives near where I come from. A little north of there.
He’s a poet, and I’m a poet, so I’ve sent him pounds of poems, over the years. He sends me poems too, on loose pieces of paper, and the books he publishes.
There’s a form he invented–he told me many people have tried to use that form, but I’m the only one besides him who got it right.
Now that he’s dying, I clearly know every mail I send to him could be the last. I say I love you to him sometimes, these last few years. It seemed silly not to.
I don’t know who I am in his imagination. One letter he signed “love” many times, writing it maybe ten times–I didn’t count. Like a school kid writing someone’s name over and over again on their three ring binder. Like a spell.
And all the mail I get from him could be the last. I see his shaky handwriting on an envelope and feel a sacred visitor has arrived. Like a rare bird arriving, in a tree in the courtyard, who might never visit again.
It seems ridiculous now, that we’ve been penpals all this time. He probably doesn’t suspect my hair is turning gray. My voice is still youthful. I’m probably way fatter than he ever would guess.
He has a wife–I think she’s a painter. They probably love one another like crazy. And who am I–some twerp in the desert. A little voice to the side.
Some strange twerp who somehow has kept writing to him for almost 30 years, through many moves and partnerships. My entire adult life.
The part that feels ridiculous is how we’re both poets and words mean so much to us. But he’s losing his mind. He sent me a postcard that was blank, on accident. Words seem totally pointless now.
I wish I could go to this coastal address I’ve had memorized for a long time and find him in his dying bed. I could hold him, lying behind him, pressing my large breasts to his back, obnoxiously alive. Hold him as he dozed, some last love, to my friend who is dying. Kiss the back of his head as I cried.
If he and his dick were interested, I would be happy to care for him sexually also. If he was having a good dick-day, I would suck his dick with all the love in my heart and make him come, if I could. I would accept his semen down my throat, gladly. It’s the least I could do, beautiful old man.
We’re all dying. What’s the point, but what’s the point of anything?