Evening Will Come: A Monthly Journal of Poetics (Issue 26, February 2013—Tribute to Jake Adam York)

Tribute to Jake Adam York

Nathan Durham
to Jake Adam York

I find you in the radio waves

that hurt you once,

the ones that carry dead voices,

the ones through your ears. You are

here and not here. You used to

say the only thing better than a good

poem is a good barbecue

so you wrote poetry about pulled pork,

you grilled chicken and steak on the same

plate, said connections are what we

call a picnic: a southern song and dance

rhyme in the sweat of October. Everyone

in you is lost in your blood.

We stretch our limbs, tilt our heads back,

steal your last breaths.

And we roll forward, all on our bellies,

all creating a sky darker than

night, darker than your eyes, all living

what we do not know, praying to whom we

do not know, laughing at what we do

not know (not knowing what we do know).

This winter we are empty but we are

heavy. This letter is already sent through

your blood stream, your heart,

your vessels, weak and strong, young

and younger. So you are the moon

we look to when it’s too dark

for the sun, too cool for barbecue,

too long to be short enough for wishing

and missing you. You are the coming

heartwave that moves through us

where we stand—we fix our faces

forward, remembering.

I find you in everything I have

not finished, in the soil of my heart I

planted you in, in your dying and trying.

These strings in us are broken

but we must soon pick them up.