My brother died three years ago next week. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, especially because I’ve received so many kind notes about this poem—”Supine Body In Full-Length Mirror, Hotel Room, Upper West Side”—I wrote as a response to a trip I took alone a month after his death and the following year’s diagnosis of cancer. I had been rereading Dante, and looking at a body—even one’s own body—in the hotel room’s mirror seemed a lot like having to climb Lucifer: enormous, world-skewing. Hell to purgatory, the self emerging.
It’s nice to celebrate our poems’ lives, but I also never want to forget why they were written. To know a poem as a means of grieving, to know it as its own kind of grief.