For James R. Donaldson III

Your face flashes in the road when I cross nonesuch river.
What a stupid name, we might have said—one thought, our own.
Your dust makes me patient, quiet, but I want something better.

The scar crawled from navel to neck, an almost straight sliver,
a thin snake stuck in your chest. Beeps, drips, breath—the only
sounds.
Your powdered face flashes when I cross Nonesuch River.

and the breath remained ragged, your heart’s beat severed
from any human rhythm. a body elsewhere bound.
You were never patient, never quiet, and you need something
better.

They found you curled in bed, the phone sticky and tethered
to your hand, sick on your lips, the sheets kicked down.
There’s a flash when I cross Nonesuch River.

I still carry (don’t laugh) this ashen weight in case of a quiver.
You’re not ready for travel, to float off, pound by pound,
but your dust grows weary and asks for anything other—

I have nonesuch mirror anymore—nonesuch face, hands, liver
or heart to be found. Just an old box filled with a sandy mound.
Your smile flashes at me when I cross Nonesuch River.
If you’re patient, quiet, we’ll think of something that’s better.