For Raymond Carver

by Ed Teja
Your stories, based on life as you saw it
Moved me deeply, although, after a time 
I tired of the despair you made me feel,
The desperation portrayed in every line,
Characters who perpetually started low, then
Moved into a spiral of decline.

You left me feeling hollow and empty,
Hungry for some happier sign.
You said that alcohol and bitterness,
Worry about food and rent,
Cut all your stories short,
Caused your fires to go out, be spent.

It no longer matters why your world 
Seemed so bleak, the sky so gray.
It is enough that, for you, life simply went
Along its tragic way.  
But now, thinking of you, all I can see is an empty bottle 
And a cigarette, smoldering in a cut-glass ashtray.

 2002 by Ed Teja. All rights reserved.