Plain American Language

I cut a sliver/of WC William's finger
and placed it inside/my philosophy...

Monday, June 25, 2007


The oldest Ratners are dead.
I'm dumbstruck.

They were the Older Generation,
the precessions
of me, the generation
of those facts
that compose me:

a nose, an eye,
Springfield, Massachusetts.
But what else?

Puttering behind the hearse,
three, maybe four times
a pallbearer, remembering

the cool, practiced voices of
the funeral-home men--
your body is suddenly not your own--
always moving by their instruction.

Now question marks putter
behind me: they drip
with the rock salt smell of a vaguely
unknowable past.

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