In memory of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I wrote a new poem following my first one for him.
Your life must have begun
when death rang the doorbell.
You shook hands
in a business deal
and negotiated terms and conditions.
What did death’s suitcase smell like?
Was there the mold
that comes with stillness,
or was it more like the dew
licking the flowers left on gravestones?
That must be when life began,
when you signed a contract
in red letter day ink
there on your doorstep.
Who else could have lived so fully
without first dealing with death?
You must have forgotten
where you’d left the contract years later,
on the table near the fruit bowl,
beneath your books or letters,
or misplaced somewhere
in your own seasoned suitcase.
When the contractors arrived
you probably made them coffee
while they waited for you to locate
your death certificate beneath your fan letters
and photographs and rough drafts.
They waited patiently
as you danced around the room
unpacking the puzzle-work of your life.
I’m sure you smiled
when you finally found the contract.
That’s how you left the world, Gabo,
by bragging to death
about the masterpiece you made of your life.