By Hannah Yale
The Universe is so cruel for taking you away.
I don’t know if I can ever forgive it.
I know that I will spend the rest of my life missing you.
I miss your hugs,
your flashing pirate smile–
your bravery and perseverance
in spite of all the bullshit.
I miss your voice–
the Texas and Virginia accents all mixed up–
how you always smelled like cigarettes,
and how you kept dozens of polaroids from over the years.
I miss finding you asleep in your chair on the porch,
a book on your lap and a cigarette between your fingers–
I think you burnt a hole in your sweater like that once.
I miss being able to steal your clothes, too.
I miss how crazy smart you were,
how you beat me in Killer Sudoku every time–
I miss sipping wine and reading in our room together,
and stopping each time we found a word we didn’t know
so we could discuss and put it on our “vocab wall.”
I miss your presence,
Today is your birthday–
you would have been 27.
We would have had a party if you were still here.
Instead, I’ll carry you in my pocket and remember you with love.
We’ll eat your favorite cookies from Sheetz instead of a birthday cake,
and smoke a joint by the water in your honor.
We’ll build a paper boat and let it go in the river,
let it drift into the Chesapeake Bay.
You always wanted to sail around the world.
I don’t know where you are now,
but there’s a sailboat in the water for you.