Poem: Epitaph … for Skip

Daniel Lee Fee’s elegy for a young man describes the feelings “neither one of us guys / was brave enough, / simple enough, / to say, / to say out loud.” 

He tried and failed and tried again. He failed then tried, so trying were

those frail days whose sunsets red or purple-blue

laid bruises in among the darkened clouds. A whole day seemed

to be floating slowly off into a night sky engulfed in a galaxy

that was not yet night, nor day. Inside we


fail to walk so far: we know our stars from outside.

I looked for truth, for love, for company

my penis the telescope

pointed up to the heavens, your eyes

shining wide upon me, a canopy sky, myself yet not

myself. If we were two,

our constellation revolving around one center of gravity trapped

secrets, private as a black hole traps light

with dense gravity. We were grave indeed. Solemn,

you would tell someone later who knew both of us guys.

Such a friend in retrospect, she surmised we two together were

writing a bowdlerized novel in sandy footprints

along beach trails, ten rubbed toes set to whiskering

soft grasses. Our favorite places

kept us nameless, except for the names

I whispered into your ear, you

whispered into my ear. A mouth to mouth sigh resuscitated

a truth neither one of us guys

was brave enough,

simple enough,

to say,

to say out loud. I breathed you in,

fresh air.


Dear saints of love’s beloved god, dear angel

of lost, of failed love, let an echo of our bond in brotherhood


grant me rest off handedly.

Let small playful children on the beach

kick sand over the nearly dead fish they find laying


open-mouthed, gasping. Let small feet dance

a last dance before those grueling lights glare

again upon us where the dance bars close. We ran together

as light so lighter than smoke-misted club air

breaking apart the huge iron doors that kept us in,


then let us loose together,

arm in arm unarmed except


you delighted me then, you will always delight me. I’m gone.

Truly I’m gone. You’re gone too.

But kicked stones remain scattered along so many paths.

When I walk everywhere I walk,

I read the stones in passing as I pass.

Your breath rustles the inner ear bones, my hammer on stapes

like a heartbeat pressed to my own heartbeat.

Yes, gone. I cannot say, goodbye.

Daniel Lee Fee. Martinez, 2012


Read more Poetry on The Good Life.

Image credit: ` TheDreamSky/Flickr


  1. Michael Rowe says:

    What a beautiful poem. Very powerful.

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