The loneliness of his death, the death of his loneliness
I like to think there’s a place where all the poets go
who died too young. They’re lounging together on
rattan chairs like those in Limbo—the suicides,
the cancer-riven, the bulleted—sharing lines &
demitasses of absinthe espresso. Now that nothing
is forbidden, they talk freely of their lives below:
how this one would have remarried, that one would have
shot him instead. They hear their lines repeated backwards
to them, garbled as through a barrel of water:
I loved him to death / He was the death of my love.
To roam on rooftops occurred to me / O the ochre rooftops of Rome.
Here they pair up and imagine alternate deaths, alternate lives.
She takes his hand and they jump from the hood of one cloud
to the next, compressing their spirit-bones that won’t break.
Arriving in slow procession all afternoon: the poems
they had no time to write. A lion pads over to scratch the lines
of his extinction in the dirt. A man whose saffron chest ribs
form a body-harp invites her to thrum her song through him:
O time of my despair, in my next life may I be spared by time.