She looks good

Spiky hair, frosted,

The way it was between bouts

Of chemo. I call out to her

And we take seats in some cafe

Where we eat pastries and get caught up.

“How long can you stay?” I ask.

It’s good having her back

Talking, the way we used to in the office

When we’d sit at the lunch table

Stuff envelopes, complain about the boss.

She’s doing that now: complaining about her boss.

“In heaven? You have a boss there?” I ask.

She nods. I begin to wonder.

“You did make it to heaven, right — ”

She brushes the question aside.

“Heaven basically sucks,” she says.

She tells me she has a little house there, a job that almost pays the bills,

and lots of people to talk to.

“Then death is just like life,” I say.

I’m pleased to hear it. I want to keep doing this

Living thing. Sitting in my dining room, say,

Looking past a vase of yellow lillies

Out the window where a chipmunk scurries up a pine.

“Pretty much.” Cindy exhales the words like a mouthful of smoke,

“Except without your loved ones,” she adds.

“That part really does suck,” I agree.

I take a bite of my Danish. “You’re sure you’re in Heaven?”

I want to ask, but Cindy gets up. Her boss only gave her so much time off,

she needs to get back. That damn boss again!

Just like always.