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.