What made him seminal, admired & celebrated was his unshakable sadness

The day I learned how to apply stitches to a gash was cold.

My toenails tingled & ached inside my woolen socks & boots

as I was on my feet for hours on the clean solid tiles

in the basement that was once also a bomb-shelter.

When I arrived home, alone before my shelves of books,

I mixed the water & blood that had been congealed on my hands

& under my fingernails into the stone I’d kept

from the creek of my family so that it became darker

& learned the blood from another.

The light years our eyes have absorbed will expel from us to the edge of belief,

to an orchard, to the wooden chair reclined beneath the very old tree.

His body had many visitors, many taken aback & many without speech.