The smell of coffee and of newspapers.
Sunday and Sunday’s tedium. Morning light,
And on the glanced-at page, frivolous and slight,
The unveiling of some allegorical verse
By a successful colleague. The old man
Lies ashen and exhausted in his decorous,
Shabby bed-sitting room. Idly he looks
At his face in the worn mirror once again
And thinks, now without wonder, that that face
Is him. A hand absently touches both
The frowzy beard and devastated mouth.
The end is near. He says, in a soft voice:
I am almost not, but in my verses’ rhythm
Life moves in its majesty. I was Walt Whitman.

This Issue

May 28, 1992