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Kirby Mort and Joe
Kirby Wilkins, Mort, and Joe Stroud

Such Friends

Drunk on ale from green quart bottles,
my friend, a young poet, weeps
thinking of my wife alone on the hill.
His woman, ironing in the other room,
weeps too, remembering how she was left
husband and friend gone on a night like this
never to return. Even the dead old poet Roethke's
Belgian bargehound is morose, and waddles up
to nudge me with his nose and stare so forlornly
I think the poet has risen in him
to show me through his eyes
a knowledge I won't accept.

So much grief:
each house sends up a baying to the moon.
All lives are broken in the end,
and their sorrows rise like smoke
from countless chimneys,
only to flood back down again
like moonlight through the windows.

I am moved by a sadness here
that is like no other:
a man, a woman, and a poet's ghost
weeping for a sorrow not their own.
They suffer for my wife,
who sits alone in a moonlit house
and does not know her grief
has touched their lives.

When the time comes,
may such friends weep for me.


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