|After John Berryman
Henry falls asleep drawing still lifes in the midwest.
Torturer and victim take coffee together, around the corner
at Cafe Latté. Children sell poppies at Kowalski’s.
The Arts Council flourishes.
On this grey day, check-out time is noon: a pistol shot
through the heart, or exit right off the bridge.
We break the seal on a bottle of Old Grand Dad
to commemorate the occasion.
Henry’s resolve has never been stronger:
A furtive glance in the mirror reveals that Henry has
a sense of humor, and also that he is no one special.
I mean that he is neither too bright, nor too dumb,
that he is iconoclastic.
Two hours to go.
Noon on the washington Ave. Bridge with a pistol.
Sing the old standards.
Water the geraniums.
Henry pages through a catalogue, won’t answer
the phone, imagines himself to be a rabid dog
licking the water faucet.
Noon passes, a second bottle of Old Grand Dad opened.
And the truth is, Henry has no intention of killing himself.
As he verily knows, the dead want him to live
and they want to hear the old stories again.
Remember tulips growing in handfuls along the canal
where Kristina politely discarded her fortune.
And the scuba diver who wore an Easter Bunny
costume under a Santa Claus outfit.
The walk with John on Sundays after mass.