Aloha by David Lee Garrison


Our fiftieth reunion and I still miss Marie.

Vanilla complexion, black hair,
played French horn—you remember her.

What was the name of the guy
she married right after graduation?

Did you ever see a couple
so much in love?

And what kind of cancer
did she die of in her twenties?

Marie went by her middle name;
her first name was Aloha,

an untranslatable Hawaiian word
suggesting peace, love, and affection

a greeting and also a farewell.
People were saying goodbye to her

the day she was born.


The poetry of David Lee Garrison has been read by Garrison Keillor on “The Writer’s Almanac” and featured by Ted Kooser in his column, “American Life in Poetry.” Named Ohio Poet of the Year in 2014, his most recent book is Light in the River (Dos Madres Press). A retired professor of Spanish and Portuguese, his translations of Spanish poets from Lope de Vega to Gloria Fuertes have been published widely.

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