I am not a poet,
so please don’t expect much from this.
But a poem seems to be a fitting medium here,
Because what I want to write wouldn’t pass muster as prose
or anything else I can think of.
I have the most vivid memory of you, Judy.
I see you smiling, seemingly saturated with a kind of joy
the rest of us can only envy.
You’re seated, head cocked a little, replying silently with your eyes and smile,
to some passing, inconsequential thing.
I would have asked you out at some point.
I was a senior; you, a year below.
But, and in the hierarchy of high school dating’s possibilities,
I saw you as at least two or three rungs out of my range.
But I want to convey my feelings now,
albeit too late, of course.
Judy, you were a kind of beacon.
A light source.
What I would imagine pure human spirit to feel like
were I in its presence.
So much so that when I heard you’d died
(by chance, I was driving down one of the depressing stretches of 101,
Between S.F. and Palo Alto)
I felt my own spirit suddenly dim.
The shock of it was
that it just seemed your spirit couldn’t be extinguished,
not, at least, before everyone else’s in our generation had flickered out.
Yours was too strong, too incandescent, too warm.
Even so many, many years after,
the feeling was palpable, visceral, and sad as can be.
– Ron Roizen