The List

What do you do when someone on your list
Is dead? Do you remove the name — once passed
Death’s one-way door, excluded from the caste
Of the exclusive living? To persist,
A little while or through the counted years — 
Is that a better choice, to keep the name
Copied to new phones, contact books, the same
Old Christmas cards, addressed through unshed tears?

Each year, another name or two impart
An added jolt of feeling as I scan
The list. I muddle through the best I can,
Holding each lost one in my fractured heart.
The shapes that letters make! Each separate name
A candle lit by love’s undying flame.