I’ll wake and realize it was all a dream.
A dream I’ve recorded and placed the needle onto a hundred or more times in the record player of my mind.

the sweet hint of oats and clementines that your hair used to hold,
mixed with the fresh grass and moss scent of a child who spent all day climbing trees,
will linger in my mind until I turn my attention to it.
Like fog, it will dissipate from my mental grasp into a thought I can almost believe once existed.

The memory of how you ran to me yelling my name with abandoned glee, as if it couldn’t be said enough to make my apparition draw near faster, will not make my heart twitch.
Twitch as if somehow stopping it’s pace would alter time and make your mother and I forget all the things between us that mean I will not get to watch you grow up little loved one.

I will wake and for a second pretend that it’s OK that your bones are in the ground… you Jon, you Dan, you Melba, you Karen, you Derick, you Charles, you Abbie, you Kelly, you pieces of my heart who have left my soul freckled with tears.

I’ll be able to pretend that I don’t miss your arms around me in a tight embrace as if there will be no more, you past and present loves.

I’ll get up and pass by my photo albums in cupboards and on wooden shelves, on Cd’s and in memory cards.
I’ll forget the little shoe, perfume and hat boxes of fond mementos and ticket stubs, concert programs and sea shells that sit in my closet
Sitting there until on a sad day my needs cause the boxes, scrap and photo books to be tenderly dusted off and walked through again.

I’ll pick up and catch the bus that passes by where we once kissed in the rain giggling because we didn’t care.

I’ll pass the building where I used to drink under age,
where I’d sing on open-mic night while shaking a sand filled plastic banana

I’ll pass by the building where I’d squeeze out of “our” booth with a squeal to run and hug you when you came sauntering in in your 40-inch-wide legged pants with reflective grey streamers dangling from the cargo pockets, and your green puffy vest and trademark visor.

I’ll forget how I grinned the first time you told me you loved me
or how I thought my heart would just stop beating in wanting to be with you once more when I learned you were dead.

I’ll forget I haven’t been able to delete the last voice mail you left me before you went back to Iraq more than a year ago and that every 40 days I am reminded of it when the message will expire.

I’ll forget that sometimes I’m driving the car and I have to pull over to hear you again. The familiar words, pauses and breaths that I have imprinted in my mind whether or not I ever decide to let the message just expire so your voice can stop ghosting me from your honored soldiers tomb.

I’ll be thankful that I can call you just to hear your voice and that you’ll be glad to hear mine.
That means you, any one of you, my many times friend.

I’ll love listening to your voice mail, seeing you walking to greet me, reading your updates or laughing at your texts.

I’ll wake up and shake off the melancholy with all of these thoughts at the front or in the back of my consciousness.

It will be tomorrow,
yet I’ll continue to love, continue to breathe, continue to find things to be grateful for
and continue to make memories and relationships that will someday, be it by life or death, lead to me wish for morning all over again.

Come tomorrow….come…
I’ll conquer you yet.