Once a week I read the 
obits in the Portland
Oregonian. I feel
kinship and connection

to the city and people.
I started reading obits
when I was younger. those 
dying born in the teens 
twenties later thirties 

and forties, I caught up.
Now people from 
fifties and sixties. I 
recognize names or think 
I do wondering if I dated
 
her or drank with him.
Did we go to the same high school? 
or university? Were they Jewish? 
was the family name one I 
remember? Recently there have
 
been a few dead children.
I knew their parents. Some names 
standout there is no doubt
I know where and when. 
Others more elusive or magical 

a sounds-like-moment, a trick of mind.
This timeline serves me
like a clock measuring time
by passing generations changing, 
people leaving, me waiting

proving my frailty my humanity.


the parable of first impressions
a lesson to shape  behaviors 
to act nice at first 

big toothy smile firm handshake, 
vague meaningless dialogue to
convince the other that you are 

not a threat at all that you can 
be trustworthy all the while looking 
the potential adversary in the eye
 
taking their measure for the 
inevitable future combat 
denigration unfriending cruelty

first impressions carry more
of what we want than what we 
see disintegrating over time

replaced by last or painful
impressions more easily recalled
lasting long after death