Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
and may perpetual light shine upon him.
“Great thirst, slow healing. You must come to this.”
His body trembled, one impacted blaze
The skeleton tungstened through, quicksilver hot.
“You never liked me much, nor did I you.
I’m dry or I could tell you why you’re here.
No one could talk to you. You fenced me off,
Your killing kindness. Why are you here?” he said,
God help us, can it be you are not dead?
Some charred ash shaled off him as when coals cough.
I could not see: the smoke made my eyes tear.
“The girl, the children, brother,” I said. “Talk true,”
He said, “Or you’re no help to me. I forgot.”
His sigh from the parched vacuum drank the haze:
“Through a race of water once I went: happiness.”*
March 9, 1972
44 in 77 Dream Songs (New York, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1964), p. 48. ↩