For Chris

I still see you sometimes.
Well, I imagine I do.
New York does this
Gives.
Takes.
Makes promises it can’t keep.

It was warm today.
The air perfumed with that glorious in-between
Scent of snow
Footprints
Cement.
The trees hummed false promises of spring.
It’s blood orange season.

I didn’t see you, but you were on my mind.
Been about ten months.
I still don’t know how you died.
No one would say.
I found out on the day after your funeral.
On Facebook.

Your roommate said,
The family wishes to keep the circumstances surrounding his death private.
You were the first friend I made in New York.
You were the first lesson I learned.

The ingredients for
Your birthday cake
Were on my kitchen table
Still in the bags, with the receipts.
I left them there for two days..
I let the butter spoil.

The last of your words I can recall,
“Alessandra, you look lovely, as always.”
I am thankful that on the three occasions I saw you
I took the opportunity twice to say,
The world needs more doctors like you.
You were applying to medical school.
I guess twice wasn’t enough.

This is what it means to grieve an almost.
To ask,
Am I allowed to miss you like I do?
I had been reminding myself
In the days leading up to your party
Not to drink too much
For fear that I would kiss you.

I went into work that day.
The chef told me,
When I was 22
I have a friend.
He killed himself with a gun.
In the head.

I cried over the dish sink.

This weekend
I finally baked the cake.
The recipe I wrote for you.
I gave it to three men.
I gave no explanation.
Save to say,
It’s blood orange season.

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