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by J Brian Long

He knew, perhaps, we might come
to wonder, that our fingers might arc
with impulses along the spines of his books.

And he would have forgiven me, if, say,
when the guide looked away, when she turned
to point at his walking sticks or the death mask,

were I to reach across and touch the rim
of his old felt hat, wouldn't he? Maybe
he would have even thought it winsome,

written a song about it up in the dizzy corner,
sung it to Margaret come morning, to the fog.
Or the goats. Maybe just to himself. Yes.

The rooms keep a silence my hand keeps still.
It was there in their hush I came to wonder:
is this the quiet of a poem, of a poet, ended?

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