Late in the afternoon that day,
as the low sun pierced the leaves
like a thousand glimmering stars,
each of my long-dead patients rushed me
towards an unexpected, unearned bliss.
Of course, it seems shallow how memories,
obscured by our endless tasks, doings
of this moment or that, can burst
into our presence and bring us a sort
of forgiveness, lost again to life —
but it is a private, unsharable knowing,
that I pray comes to you some long,
long day, when our bleakness so common
overtakes you; may you learn to learn
this particular kind of absence,
this specific child of failure.