Rilke and Proust—

            two authors my father

            specially loved—

            sit now on my shelf

            in a single book


            by time.


            Now in a nursing home,

            he no longer reads,

            scarcely hears,

            his sentences break apart

            like fog against

            the cruel mountain,

            slovenly in his sweats,

            hair unkempt,

            a scientist in tight,

            determined dementia.


            And yet I have

            this book,

            a reading of young

            love underscored in red

            that I take down

            and open another

            life I scarcely knew,

            before the owner

            had abused his wife,

            neglected his children,

            suffered fools



            what life inside

            before all that

            bloomed and sang

            and knew

            a broken majesty.


            I open again

            and page through

            these words

            that live and echo


            beyond the body

            beyond the mind


            beyond the boy

            who cringed

            and came apart

            yet holds


            time still.



                                   David Radavich






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