He left every ounce of his flesh in candy for us to eat,
Left the weight of his lover, gobbled by AIDS, the weight
Of the two of them huddled and crying on a couch.
How strange that beauty comes to the sorrowful
When they most need it, when it least avails them.
He draped strings of muted lights from a ceiling,
Called them Leaves of Grass. He understood Whitman
Better than whole universities of scholars
And sleeps chest to chest with him on a bed of stars.
He stacked black-and-white posters of clouds,
Wanting us to take one for ourselves,
Like peeling back the museum roof to expose
The endless possibilities of the heavens.
He worked with nothing you couldn’t buy at Rite-Aid.
Cheap, disposable gifts the dying give the dying.
Candy melts to nothingness, humming tungsten breaks,
The poster is lost in an attic of cardboard boxes,
And over the world’s body the clouds go, nevertheless.
For Jonathan VanDyke