Stephen Hall

01/12/1945 — 03/18/2023

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Stephen Hall

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  • You weren’t there to clear the coffee machine last night so I wondered this morning why I had to do it. Was I awake before you? Then the gap in air stood out again, brutal and clearly visible where for a moment the world was normal.

    It is the second day.

    A ball cap, glasses, under shirt, fresh underwear. A clean button down with long sleeves, blue jeans, and a belt. Sandals and black socks instead of the normal white because, well, socks with sandals are cliche enough. We brought your new carapace to wear, so you’ll stay warm. A suit for eternity would have been hell.

    We made sure you had a new notebook and your favorite fountain pen in your pocket; don’t forget to read our notes.

    A pocket knife, a bow and three arrows you made because you can finally hunt the woolly mammoths you always claimed to see. Two books, both gifts from me that you have time to read now, and your favorite coffee mug. They wouldn’t let us send you with bourbon.

    The ground beneath us is fragile.

    I know you quit smoking 15 years ago, but you always said if the diagnosis was terminal you’d take up your pipe again. The end was too fast to give you that last luxury but we got you some tobacco to go with a nice cigar. We didn’t forget to bring your pipes. Apparently only old people still smoke Prince Albert, which tracks.

    Its too soon to wean my eyes from the gap in the air where you were. It’s a large, empty space I cannot stop looking for.

    – March 20, 2023

    Laura C Hall
    March 24, 2023
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