I saw you for the last time in a rehab hospital in Brookline. You told me about the inequities inside the facility, about the very poor and very sick people on lower floors who were not getting the quality of care you were. I told you I was reading a biography of Malcolm X and we talked about the civil-rights movement. You asked after my own book with excitement and anticipation, and you offered to send me to a reading out of state, if I could get one. I thought I’d have a chance to say goodbye.
Joyce, I hear you did not want a funeral. Your sons are holding an open house in your tiny, beautifully furnished apartment tomorrow and Tuesday. All the people who loved you are not going to fit into that apartment, not even two days in a row. Thank you for making me part of your community.