The Pilot

It was just before midnight and I was letting the dog outside,
     the backyard blanketed by a downy fog.
A few halogen lights lofted high above the neighbors’ yards
     cast an orange, alien glow over the scene.
In that moment, I had a heated vision of you gripping the wheel
     of a Jeep Cherokee, giggling like a child.
What would tonight or any other night be like if you hadn’t died;
     if you were still only an e-mail or IM away?
Everyday I curse that you were extinguished by a dream
     while leaving us wondering if it was worth it.

This soothing fog, so like the one we lost ourselves in
     while driving dusty roads around Clinton Lake.
You were on fire that night, rambling about flying, wild dream it seemed,
     fog forcing a vision without eyes, blind imagination.
I’ve never forgotten that silly night, enveloped by fog, Kim & Kelly’s songs,
     high, hopeful, young, becoming best friends.
But now the dog’s ready to come back inside. She’s cold, wet,
     doesn’t think much about lost friends or the weather.
I’m standing at the door, tears in my eyes, knowing someday I will join you,
     shrouded by that fog of whatever’s next.

Yes, you finally flew, dear friend. Between so many late-night cigarettes
     you put yourself where you needed to be, aloft.
Though apart now, outside of time and space, you’re more than my memory,
     and I can’t miss you if you’ve never left at all.
For you’re in every book, every song, every game, every thing,
     your laugh, your philosophy, our lives.
When I get to the end, if there’s enough time to reflect on the past,
     I hope to say I was as almost as good as you.
I hope to tell your son a story about how a life can be forever better
     after only a simple late night suffused in fog.

For Doug
https://jasonpreu.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/dode/

The Pilot

15 thoughts on “The Pilot

  1. I love how the fog is so well intertwined in the poem that its also a character. You can feel it on your skin, and I am whisked into this memory of yours, punctuated by powerful lines such as “In that moment, I had a heated vision of you gripping the wheel/ of a Jeep Cherokee, giggling like a child.” and “But now the dog’s ready to come back inside. She’s cold, wet,/doesn’t think much about lost friends or the weather.” Excellent stuff. I am moved and feel honored to have read this!

  2. A poignant tribute…especially the verse,

    “For you’re in every book, every song, every game, every thing,
    your laugh, your philosophy, our lives.”

    So true. Only after someone is gone do we see how full our lives were made with them.