Abbey's eyes were champaign;
Her tongue a wild mare
When she galloped she kicked up words
like dust under Ozymandias' feet;
psalms of Lenore, of Michelangelo--of cabbages and kings,
And of course,
"The Cremation of Sam McGee"
The poem Abbey tromped so fondly
Her hooves carved a canyon
straight through Tennessee
I look over the ledge and I wonder,
Was Harrison cold when he died?
Abbey used to read to me
On the bus, on Mount Sentinel--
Up at the cabin we lay down, full and free
and she knitted a story out of dust motes
and poetry from the sun
and I knew
I would never quite fall out of love with her
I think about the stars at 3 A.M. on Sussex Avenue,
And whether or not he looked up before he pulled the trigger
Because I don't feel so alone when Orion's overhead
Now when Abbey opens her mouth her eyes are flat stones
She hasn't told me a poem since high school.
As we sip our coffee, we talk about the cars on South Avenue
And she bikes home alone.
Harrison didn't leave a note,
But four months after,
Haley sent me a letter
With some of his poetry
So I read a dead man's legacy
And I thought,
How dare you, Sam McGee
How dare you brave the wasteland for so long
And never call out for help
The winter's hands are on your body
And she will not forget your shape.
Your friends will don caps, nurse candles
But the warmth belongs to us.
Only poetry reaches the dead.