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Epilogue: After A Murder

ISSUE:  Autumn 1983
Time is my enemy
and my savior.
I have stopped thinking,
if only I had been there.
I have stopped imagining
a different scene.

In the cold black gates
of the place where it happened
Neptune swims on fiercely,
trapped in an iron ocean of time.
The bloodstains scrubbed away,
the body no more than a few atoms
anyone anywhere might inhale.

There is no ending
to stories of grief.
There is no closure.
Only the gradual
acclimation of the living
carved up into different people,
their hearts curtained off
into solitary shrines,
pictures of the loved one
hung on nails behind the eyes.

The trees of Central Park
pop up incongruously
from the black heart of the city.
Walking anywhere, I might find him
again: If I study my hand
hard enough, it becomes something else:
an instrument of love, not torture.

I laid the baby in his crib
and tucked the blankets round him
while he sobbed, “good-bye, good-bye”
for good-night, because he didn’t want to sleep.

The soft curve of his forehead
fringed with yellow hair
is a bulwark to time—
the undeveloped brain,
the memory that won’t keep
either pain or pleasure
in its tiny plot.
“Say good-night,” I said, not

good-bye, the word that never ends.
Its long i calling out

for the lost one forever
saying, I am scared without you,
I am lonely.
I am missing something
since your death.
Give it back.


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