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Doris Duke
B. 11.22.12 Somerville, New Jersey / D. 10.28.93 Beverly Hills
Heart Trouble

Since I was last in Murray Hill, the hummingbird flicker of the fluorescent bulb over the bathroom mirror has become a fruit bat flap—
suggesting that I’m not the only one who ever turns it on.
The new clock—maritime, antique, undeniably mantel-enhancing—it’s a funeral souvenir. Some uncle’s widow, nearer than dear, lately revealed as an efficient list-maker more thoughtful than his family had imagined: the flawless matching of her “whom-should-haves” to those “of hers” which each had longest coveted is an astonishment to the entire clan.
And on the top refrigerator shelf, the unfinished bottle of soya-something drink which I glimpsed before it was discarded—well why not.
From the previously undeigning strongholds comes wonder—“How on earth did she know?” “She remembered,” the looser-lipped breathe.
She reasoned perceived and existed—alone.
Then all at once they miss her, painfully: sad, kind-of-mean kitty, entertaining herself with her jottings; for each, the perfect-gift grin she must have worn just hangs there, an icon which directs an unexpected grief.
Yes it’s clear—since I was last on the scene a strange set of migratory fingertips has been here; preening, feeding; exploring all the lights and lacquered brass and earlobe piercings. At least I hope so.

Consolation Site: Don’t Ask; Don’t Tell; Don’t Forget the Camels

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