Wednesday, October 29, 2014


Since he was born before 1900
And died well into his 90s, Alex,
My mother's friend, must surely have been
Almost the last of Franz Joseph's cavalrymen.
Old and sick, he drew endlessly
Flowers or boats or long moonlit roads
Or the man in the bed next to his.
The tall ghosts with whom he'd riden
Insistently clattered into his dreams
Demanding he join them. His hands
Pained him so he could barely hold a crayon;
I wondered how they could draw so well.
One morning he woke up in uniform
On horseback, holding reins in hands
No longer twisted, and knew that he had died.

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