Last rites

Being an old man
now he could outstare
the darkness
this one last time.
What you could only imagine
this man had subsumed
winters ago: empty hands
a sad sonata, dead trees
and swallows in flight.

He watched his new age
tick closer on the mirror
that was the river.
Lines and crease marks
reappeared at random
and covered his skin
like receding love.

It was a renaissance
in reverse
too terrible to watch.
far easier to be
the man himself
in a car by the river
than the poem he was
trying to finish…

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