For Edward P. Jones

That the sun would burn out —
    even a million years from now —
        was the worst news of my childhood.

I couldn’t die. Wouldn’t. Life,
    all this running & waking & eating
        & brother & sister & school

& so much talking in my head —
    especially the talking in my head —
        was me, & the whole point

of being me wasn’t not to be me
    forever. But this business with the sun
        meant death would come,

even to me. I tell this to a friend today
    as we discuss climate change,
        the earth burning up, it seems,

even before the sun — as inconceivable
    as death once was. Years
        & a heart attack have wrecked

my denial & fear of death. I so miss
    my father, who died last spring,
        I tell my friend. He misses

his mother, who died when he was but
    twenty-four. A cold day, her lungs gone,
        my then-young friend without her

forever, and the sun, the audacious sun,
    spinning & burning as always, as if nothing
        had happened, nothing had changed.