I used the last of your Burt’s Bees. Also drank the last of your Gatorade, ate your opened raspberry and vanilla crème cookies, the plastic paint can of pineapple Mike & Ikes, your pizza-flavored Goldfish. You had just bought them and I didn’t want them to go to waste. Plus, my hinges had come undone and I wasn’t functioning properly. I prefer not to think of myself as a vulture for using your new orange work gloves until they are black with sweat and grime, for using your collected knives and whetstone, your blue anvil to prop a door. As I gush with one of your pencils into one of your notebooks to avoid the meltdown procedures, I wonder what is wrong with me, so much comfort employing a dead boy’s detritus. I devour loss like a sentimental vampire, sucking what nearness I can from inanimate objects. If you were here I would devour you too, an ever-shrinking relationship built on loss. I will suck the bone of this loss until the marrow sings in me a lullaby.
And won’t stop.
In the lenses
Of my glasses
Two clear little
Two tiny oceans
Surging and ceding.
Tide in, tide out.
The gravity of love.
My Thoughts Are with You During This Difficult Time
We’re never really ready, the card says,
as if preparing for a party that never happens.
So sorry for your loss, as if
the keys will never turn up.
Sending love, thoughts, prayers and peace
but no booze.
Grieve well, as if
grief is a kind of achievement.
With deepest sympathy, as if
sympathy can be measured in depths.
Shallow sympathy for your loss—it could be worse.
Neck-deep sympathy for your loss—bigger than a pet
but not as deep as a child.
No one ever says here’s a load
of half-baked clichés, so glad
it’s not me, or good luck back at work
with the bloodthirsty jackals ruining your productivity.
How refreshing to hear, just once
Let’s get shit-faced. Let me be
your first mate as we sail tonight
into oblivion. All this shit will still be here
when we get back.
Brian Builta lives in Arlington, Texas, and works at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth. He has had recent work published or forthcoming in Jabberwock Review, Juke Joint Magazine, South Florida Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review and TriQuarterly. These poems are from a manuscript titled A Thursday in June, written in the wake of his son’s suicide at age 16.