16 September 2009

Little duck

Stalin said the death of one man is a tragedy
And there we were, in socks on my parents' porch
Some had guitars in their hands and others still cigarettes
You with three crosses around your neck, almost a seventh child

And the other part of Stalin’s truth was about numbers-
the impossibility of mourning many.
After you were hung, then down in the ground
I rode a bus out of Krakow along flat summer fields,
Saw a thousand shoes, a jumbled stock count
Of frail leather, tangled laces
All trapped in glass

All those feet.
Some that had limped after a fall
Others had confident strides
Maybe there was a velvet stiletto tango
Of a Last Sunday

I can’t love them all,
Those shoes are dry like parchment
How did the corners of all those mouths curl?
Your smile was like a little duck’s