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Evans’ Rag

Vol 1 Issue 22


House on a Cove 

In the fury of the several blizzards, I could have walked straight out into their nothingness and disappeared. Ice stretched end to end across the lake, and the snow was piling on by the hour We’d only moved to the house a few months before in late summer–house on a cove–and by that October, Ryan was gone. I was writing like a mad man, but it didn’t help. Sobbing ‘til it hurt. Drinking myself blind, and that didn’t help either.

But something about that year’s bitter winter, the way it matched my heart, meant everything. It hurt the way I was hurting, and I wanted to become part of that winter.

Seventeen years later, again in late summer, the house has been renovated and the yard is ever so slowly being turned into a garden. We have a new dog–she’s another rescue, unlike the two “well papered one” we’d brought with us from Stonybrae Drive. All of these are measures of the time that’s passed since Ryan died.

The downstairs room where I spent hours writing has a new couch and chairs, and a giant “S” that I brought home from the office; it’s the sample letter for Signature Theatre left over from the construction. The orange-red cathode backlights the sign against the brick wall that it sits against.

And I’m still writing here.

Shirlington Library / SIgnature Theatre   Photo by Eric Taylor

Shirlington Library / SIgnature Theatre

Photo by Eric Taylor

Back in 2002, I expected I might finish one book and somehow stumble on with life. Love in Winter Missing Ryan will be the fourth. The working title of that first book was Attend because it reminded me what I needed to be about–attending to his memory. An early poem included in Southern Son is named the same.

There’s no important point to any of this, except to say that suicide is a pernicious evil in how it destroys more than just a single life. And what it doesn’t destroy outright is made susceptible to any number of vices and false directions. Our family will live with this until we die, but here’s hoping the love behind these poems outlives me.

His memory is but drying salt
a shadow left when one need
look away from brilliant light.

from Brilliant Light

What follows is the first section of poems from Love in Winter Missing Ryan.