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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press


By: Rita Malenczyk

for Mike Cole

When I saw your note under the beer can I thought

Wait, what the hell, who has been here

Because I’d given myself up to the thought

That no one was coming to the grave, not really,

Not his buddies who left the cans, not even the coach who thought

That planting the hockey sticks there would matter,

Would keep him alive, my son who thought

He could get away forever, could leave

This horrible place of pain and thought and

Sorrow, could stop wondering where he fit and

Just leave, he just left and never thought

About us, about me, all of us stripped and raw and

You, you left that note, telling us you thought

He was alive, really, in you and your

Life, your girlfriend you brought to the grave, you thought

You’d introduce her to him, tell her you thought

He was always here, always, as long as we thought

About him, remembered, never forgot, never

Died,stay alive, stay forever, never die.


Rita Malenczyk is an English professor, writer, painter, and printmaker living and working in eastern Connecticut. Her creative work, including her visual art, has appeared in Writers: Craft and Context and Beyond Words.

"My 19-year-old son Nick died by suicide in 2019 after a battle with bipolar disorder. This poem was written after I'd visited his grave, as I do regularly, and found a note left there for me and my husband by a friend of Nick's, telling us how he'd been there with his girlfriend and how important Nick had been to him. I started thinking about how people live on in others' memories after they die."


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