Pre-Elegy in Cloth

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Death nears
the final
chapter of your father’s
life and soon

will close
the covers
throw back the last
swirl of brandy
and hand over
the book.

As instructed
you will feed
the volume to fire
bury what remains
on a grassy hill.

But not before dipping
into a favorite
passage not before
reviewing climactic
scenes. Already

death is fingering
the last pages
of your father.
You look for him
on the stand
beside your bed

wishing you could take
him up
wishing you could fall
asleep with him
face down
on your chest.