It’s like this: for a very long time, we are not here; then we are here but not for very long; then we are not here for the longest time. Some people know the general whereabouts of “not here.” Myself…I haven’t the foggiest.
What I do know is that the poet, Wislawa Szymborska, is not here anymore.
People who really knew her—the people who liked or didn’t like her cooking, who worried that she smoked too much, who had to sit and listen to her talk through the years of not writing after she won the Nobel Prize—will be allowed to cry and howl and shuffle around their flats in bedraggled flannel robes as long they need to. That is their right because they knew and loved her.