My Gift to You

John Jeremiah Sullivan was the first to tell me about Bolaño. John said, 'The Savage Detectives, go get it.' Later that afternoon, I was told by a dozen bookstores that no such title existed, which is the problem with having friends who get ARCs of everything. 

I had lunch with John and our friend Joel the other day. Joel made soup; John made biscuits. The light was fine and white and wintry. I owe my career to John, a fact of which I was reminded sitting there in his immaculate kitchen.

Afterwards, I came home and looked up this poem, knowing I wouldn't be aware of its author, nor of a certain slant on its reading, without my friend.

'My Gift to You'

My gift to you will be an abyss, she said,
but it will be so subtle you’ll perceive it
only after many years have passed
and you are far from Mexico and me.
You’ll find it when you need it most,
and that won’t be
the happy ending,
but it will be an instant of emptiness and joy.
And maybe then you’ll remember me,
if only just a little.

--Roberto Bolaño