(for matt)

so they want to make, in your memory, a law
to more heavily punish those like jennifer...
ironic, knowing your infrequency of anger
and bad habit of talking on the phone while driving.

personally, i would prefer to remember you
by planting a rose garden or an orchard in your name...
but i understand and respect that others grieve
and knew you differently than did i.

they said you were too good for this earth,
an angel who had to be taken to heaven...
but i remember your imperfections, your secrecy
and troubles with honesty (and not just about your age).

sometimes, you drove me crazy
with your stubbornness, but i am so glad
you were human... i want to remember you
as you, not some perfect picture.

they said you were so smart,
and you were, but i remember when
you rented an apartment, in the middle of the ghetto, completely unfurnished.
you slept on a mattress on the floor for 2 months.

they all say you were always smiling,
but i remember both the blank look
when you were distracted and wouldn't let anyone in
and the serious look when you were explaining the scientific
technicalities you knew so well.

they say how much you impacted their lives,
and you did me, too,
but i know as well what a difference i made in yours
and i am humbled.

they talk about how you strengthened their faith,
but i remember you never wanted to talk about it,
were too shy to say what you believed
except that you loved your church.

and yet it was a joy to watch you grow,
brought me more faith and joy and love for you
when you would talk about growing in your
newman retreats and Bible classes and adventures in nature.

they remember how you knew everyone,
but i wonder how deeply you really did
and read your postcard that says how hard
it was that one summer getting to know people.

they said you were so friendly,
and you were, but i remember your shyness
and not always knowing what to say...
not always having to say something.
you were such a good listener.

today, as i rode my bike to work,
my hands freezing, i remembered your gloves,
and the ones i always meant to send you, as a gag gift,
and i wished i had your hands to warm mine - or at least your gloves.

as i see your message from last christmas,
wishing mine to be happy, and missing me...
i have been good, and i miss you too...
i wish i didn't have to miss you so long, brother.

i love you, friend.

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