The Dream of Going Through Boxes of my Dead Friend’s Stuff

for B.W.

My primordial mind has transposed you
with my father’s preacher friend
who died about ten years younger than you
on a bike, wearing no helmet
so it eventually dawns on me that the
helmets, ranging from an ’80s  Vetta Italy
to a Giro Prolight with the Roc Loc retention system
and the Shimano cycling shoes, with Look-compatible cleats
(with the patented 9 degrees of float)

are yours; I think (I am very close to waking)
of the short story Content of the Dead Man’s Pockets
by Jack Finney, and I think that your pockets
are garages, the fourth bedroom,
and perhaps the third.

I find the thing that is really you:
a Sony Beta BMC-100 video recorder.
I gaze at the quality of the casing and controls;
I try to connect the recorder to anything I own
anything that will play something
that only outputs on a three RCA plug composite video connection
wanting to see something about your last days,
since I missed them
but of course the massive video cassette is full of you,
younger than me
recording your kid’s baptism, a niece’s wedding,
and a high school band concert by your son,
now a USAF general.
I try to imagine you from the camera’s perspective;
safely inside the excluded 270 degrees
the occasional shake
and the loud laugh.

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