had logo

After he found out his wife

had the same name as a famous skier,

my friend made a Google Alert for her,

would text his wife "Congrats on the gold medal" 

or "I can't believe you were on Oprah

and didn't bring home a free car." 

When his wife died, my friend didn't

turn the alert off. He likes it

when he hears his wife's racing 

down a mountain so high

it might as well be heaven, down,

down, as if hurrying back to earth, back to him. 

There's a moment, he says, 

when the day's alerts come in 

and he sees her name, he remembers

she's alive. "Don't you mean you remember 

she's gone?" I say. My friend shakes his head.

"When you hear something new 

about your dead loved ones, it’s like

you can feel their life 

still rippling through the world--

and isn't that like remembering 

she's alive?" I don't tell him 

I'm reading this book about dead people, 

that there's a chapter explaining why we bury the dead 

six feet deep. Any further and there's no bacteria 

to break the body down. It takes a little life 

to take the poison out of grief. 

The next day, I find my mother

is in Georgia now, proud of her two grandkids.

But she's also in Ohio, serving time again. 

In the last 15 years she earned a second Ph.D.,

but she’s dropped Faulker to cure cancer. 

Lost for weeks in the Nevada desert,

searchers found my mother at the bottom of a ravine

eating apple seeds.