If a Friend of Yours Has Died and You Find Out in an Email

(For Joe Krall)


By Husayn Carnegie

Dream yourself as cardboard. Still your mind. Stiffen
then dream yourself as rain. Let the softest tension
hold yourself together as you fall.
These selves are just formalities
what is one way from another?
Dream yourself a wounded boar
tusks wet with hunter’s blood.
Dissolution comes in many forms.
Dream yourself a friend. Heavy, draped in cotton.
Dream of that embrace from their perspective.
How hard they hold you how hard they love you.
Dream yourself a graceful constellation
how hot you are how cold the blackness where you live.
Apologize for who you are, for everything you have ever done
for failing through sheer force of will to keep them with you.
Sing yourself a poem. The only poem that there is, about death –
ours and those we love rewritten over centuries, refigured and reworked.
A language we fall into, a language we let fall over us.

Husayn Carnegie

Husayn Carnegie, M.F.A. ’16, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Maine. He completed his undergraduate studies at New York University, where he was a Presidential Honors Scholar. His poems have been published in Poetry International and on The Academy of American Poets’ website. He lives in Seattle, where he writes and plays elite-level Ultimate Frisbee for the Seattle Sockeye.