and as he went along the shore he hummed,
Grandfather hummed, and not for feeling gay,
but as a signal that his work was well begun
that he had well accounted for another day.
The cranes along the waterfront, grotesques
with names he’d mastered in a foreign tongue,
were marvels that yet left him unimpressed;
were giants he walked fearlessly among.
The immigrant assurance in his breast
rode him to a new world, and made him brave.
He passed what he presumed was each new test
and strove until he landed in his grave.
There isn’t much left for me to do
During this dead of winter
While the snow covers me up
Like language, like bitter
Hexameters, like a cold poem.
Like a long letter from home.
Like the fall of words
That piled up years long
That thawed and froze and thawed and froze
That one fine day were dislodged by a mere nothing
That avalanched all at a go
And strewed our bodies to the far reaches
Of the meadow, from which they
Couldn’t ever be recovered
When it turned out spring