How it Will Be (for Ricky, whom we love)

I wrote this poem over the summer for my friend, Rick. For years he’s been struggling with omentum cancer and ministering to the masses with his music despite the ups and downs of his illness. This week, we celebrate his life and spirit. Rock on, pal…

How It Will Be

When death comes to you
it will be by invitation: a
knock on the door by

some familiar faced fan
you recognize from
last night’s gig, or maybe

a sweet spotted dog that
roams through town
ever hungry for a pat. One

of those, or perhaps a
whole crowd will come for you,
I don’t know. But,

you will be invited, and
you will look back to the world
you know, with all it’s

clutter of dates and song lists, all
those times you couldn’t, wouldn’t,
take your eyes off your wife, who sat

at a back table in one venue or
another, talking and watching.
Watching you.

You’ll look back and
all the musicians you ever played with
will still be playing, fussing

over arrangements, keys and
rhythms while your daughter dances her
unicorn dance and your son, who

so mirrors you,
leans irreverent against the bar,
beer in hand, laughing.

Friends, people that just love you,
people who will always love you, will
move and sway together in

the night, a huge
amorphous dance, a
dance that you love too. But,

there in front of you, at your door, or
bedside you on stage, or maybe
in your kitchen stands

that sweet faced fan,
that dog, or angel
or cowboy and

in their eyes something stronger than you,
something utterly wild,
will conquer you with it’s beauty,

conquer you so completely that
when you look at our world,
the world that will love you forever,

you will sigh, defeated, and look at death:
that dog, or fan or stranger come for you, and
say hell yeah. Let’s go.

J. Waters