There are people whom we do not fully know, and yet they live in a warm place within us, and when they are plundered, when they lose their bodies and the dark energy disperses, that place becomes a wound.
—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me

I never knew you
in the way I should have known you, don’t have
your voice imprinted on my dreams or your palmlines
on my cheekbones. But I know
by the vast gulf of love between us,
by the ones I love who loved you
just what I must have missed.

I ache for myself, for what I do not know,
and I ache for those who ache more knowingly for you,
and I ache for you, wherever you are and are not.

And I swear by my heart, which yearns to be true,
that I love you; and I swear, by my soul, which yearns to live forever,
that I have not forgotten you — 
that I carry you with me more
than anyone would guess.

And as long as life remains me, I will try
to conjure you — 
your life in my life,
your spirit in my spirit,
and your love in my love.