BY JOHN ALEXANDERSON
The silence of St. Louis, where he's buried, begs.
"Listen!" He seems to breathe from hard beneath the soil.
Once, he offered sticks to save
a hide-sprung baseball from our pond,
just at dinner. His eyes fell soft, the color
of old nickels. The steady arc of Pall Mall
rose, joining with his pursing lips,
thoughtless, absent. I saw the smoke
suck deep into his chest, and disappear.
He comes again in dreams:
My hair stands up like pins.
I count his breaths at night,
his heartbeats paper-thin,
as cells or sacs. I shout
"watch out," but he can't hear.
[It's like he lives in mirror glass.
His eyebrows are his words,
while Wall Street Journals,
51st Street strains and soot, and coffee
quenched in half and half, are his peace.]
And this is mine:
When she was eighty, my mother told me
how they met, the New Yorker and Wyoming
girl. She thought a while, and then declared,
"someone said he had a poet's eyes."
I like to think that all St. Louis heard.