Carole has called and I have just placed the phone back in its cradle. I tried to see her and I didn't. I called her and told her I was coming to see her. Went to bed that night and dreamt that I went to visit her, arrived at her door and was already too late and she had gone before I could hold her one more time.
I'm finally learning to trust my dreams, to trust when my ancestors are preparing me for what must come.
I could say that I wished I had called sooner (and I do), dialed her number when I thought of her instead of giving myself over to the work piled in front of me. But the truth is, I didn't. I know that if Ana didn't tolerate that sort of shoulda-coulda-woulda foolishness in life, she damn sure wouldn't stand for it now.
She was my sistren, my Caribbean woman-sister, that lover, that mother, that dream builder, that community organizer, that poeta with hips como una sirena. We were always in love with each other.
And now Ana is gone.
What I do wish: that I could have read her selections from the chapbook that I've been working on. That I could have sung for her one more time because she loved to hear me sing. That I could hug her, wrap her up in my arms. That I could have talked to her about how much I miss my grandmother who passed in October. I suppose that, in a way, her dying doesn't change a thing. I can still sing for her, read her poems, talk to her about my grandmother. She is eternal now and present everywhere. I will whisper my secrets to her in the quiet shade of trees, listen for her laughter in the wind. I will carry her with me in my ears, in my mouth, in my heart.
Ana always made me feel like I had a right to believe in myself. She named me a writer before I had the courage to give myself the name. She believed in my ability to create, to tap into my grandmother's magic, to become the woman that I was born to be. She liked me just the way I was doing exactly what I was made to do. Ana believed in me.
I pray that her family be comforted. I wish her partner rest -- it's been a long and, too often, lonely road and now it's time for her to heal. I pray for Ana's children -- there comes a day when we all must say goodbye (for now) to the woman who brought us into the world and it never stops hurting like hell. My wish for them tonight is that one day it just doesn't hurt so bad. And for the friends -- the poets, the girl friends, the organizers, the artists, the colored girls, the sister lesbos, the wild ones, the feminists, the ones who didn't make it, the ones who are still trying, and the ones that will never forget her -- send her your love as she crosses over and know that she is sending hers back to you.
Goodbye Ana. I miss you.