For Conway

Maya Angelou once said,

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel”

but the thing is,
I wont forget
any of it
the open ears,
the listening,
the understanding that was so easily given
the way he congratulated me
the day I pulled poetry from my teeth

I wont forget how he made us feel,
wont forget how he made
us feel

the many conversations that lived in his office are
now stuck in between the cracks in the walls
I imagine the dark of the theatre in mourning,
the curtains heavier,
more blue than usually
the black of the paint chipping backwards to
share the memories saying,
It is all here underneath
your feet.”

if you have ever wondered what magic feels like
I can tell you with certainty that
it is a bear grasp from a tower of a man and
a laugh that can be defined more correctly as a chuckle
or most importantly, a smile
that comforted when
comfort was needed most

what is hardest
is this reality, the growing up that comes with losing
I am trying to comprehend the fact
that there are going to be students,
new ones,
will never know the magic that
is a Conway hug

we will be reminiscing, telling stories and
his name will be a past tense we
didn’t want to have to use
this is a poem I
never wanted to have to
about a man who carried so many hearts
inside his own
The same one who
reminded me and many others of our worth on
more than one occasion
This is about the man who was like a father when
my own was sick
This is about the man
who directed my first kiss
on the same stage where I learned how to be vulnerable

it is so easy to say
this isn’t fair
but then I picture him,
Arms crossed, replying
“Life isn’t fair”
And it isn’t, no,
But what a privilege it is
To have known him

Maya was wrong,
we wont forget what he said,
sitting in the center of the studio referencing someone’s house
“Treat it like your grandmother’s”

I wont forget what he did,
What he taught me,
We wont forget any of it,
I promise.

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