ON THE DAY OF TRANSLATION WORKSHOP
Oscar is gone. He is gone. Lost to speed
on a highway we never saw him dare
in daylight. I repeat: He will never come home.
I see him as a kitten, fitting inside my palm,
a comma, growing into his question-mark tail.
He lapped the lips of bottled beers. I can’t write
those nights spent buried in the ease of his fur.
My husband shovels him from the road, exhausts an hour
deciding the best truth to tell: he was mangled beyond
recognition, or he slipped into the horse field
and never returned. I get the facts because he knows
nothing’s worse than a closed casket, a bodiless funeral.
How do we quantify loss? The Russian interpreter
translates the word “elegy” wrong. First, eulogy, then sorry,
further abridging our inadequate language of grief.
—from Rattle #30, Winter 2008