No matter how slowly you read the life
it speeds past. His parents wed. Soon he's born.
Then school, and Oxford, a taste for porn.
Then jobs, the many women (but no wife)
and the little songs, formal, bright and brief
but briskly playing notes of rue and scorn,
and only those, until each tune sounds worn,
the man too, instrument of ceaseless grief.
Still, when he's buried, you come, another ghost,
among his friends and family, the known,
the unacknowledged, wearing your own gown
of tears, your empty voice raised with the rest.
So much lament, for see what he has sown
that only now you gather what you've lost.
New Orleans Review
Volume 38, Number 1