For Kristen, Who Would Have Turned 47 Today, by Melissa Frederick

April 7, 2020

I found your obituary in an online archive,
where our newspapers return to earth
these days. Hard to explain 
the electric world we now occupy:

words and pictures, viruses, vines,
birth, bankruptcy, Seders and sepulchers, 
loves and losses built in a day, or a year,
or the time it takes a tabby cat

to pirouette from one end of a parquet
floor to another, and seven other people
to watch and evaluate, with hearts,
with thumbs-ups, like the stickers we traded

in fourth grade, on wax paper,
velvet surfaces, a chemical scent
of strawberries scratched free
by the half-moons of our nails.

That day on the archive, for a moment, we together
were held in a flicker of virtual space.
We met flesh to pixel, observer to icon,
only chronologically wrong, all wrong.

You will never see me again. I can look at you forever.
This is the world now. Only one of us has eyes,

Melissa Frederick is a writer and artist from suburban Philadelphia. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous publications, including the Crab Orchard Review, DIAGRAM, Strange Horizons, Mythic Delirium, Goblin Fruit, and Heron Tree. Her poetry chapbook, She, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2008. Her work has also been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and the Best of the Net anthology.

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