for Mary and Liam
If it were up to me I’d ask Death to wait for an October Sunday just after dusk, the seventh game of the World Series an hour away. I’d make iced tea the slow way, let it brew till it was dark as the inside of an urn, then I’d pour it into souvenir mugs we bought on the boardwalk. I’d think about the sea, the castle we built, how one of us cried at sunset when waves taught us the ache of letting go. We’d sip tea with lemon and sugar, share a red bowl of popcorn and I’d be grateful for it all: our family’s pain and sweetness, that love survived these seasons and forgiveness eased us into second chances. I’d ask for one last dance, the three of us close, the Beach Boys singing “Warmth of the Sun” and I’d beg Death to take me then, before the music ended, and let the last touch of my life be your life breath upon me, something to keep in the shadow of souls where you’ll find me lonely with God, my arms open, weeping both your names.