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Deathwatch on the Southside

By reason of a death
—the mystery whose vacant name I know and whose reality
we cannot grasp—
a Southside house is open until dawn
unknown undestined for revisiting
but awaiting me tonight
with watchful light late when people sleep,
gaunt with bad nights, distinct,
minutial with reality.

To its vigil death-heavy I go
through streets like memories,
time's abundant night,
nothing audible
save vague men at a closed shop
and someone whistling alone in the world.

Slow walk, in the possession of hope,
to the block and house and sincere door I seek
and men receive me bound to be grave
who had a share in my elders' years,
and we weigh destinies in a habilitated room with a view of
the yard
—under the power and integrity of night—
and say, because reality is more, indifferent things
and listless are and Argentine in the mirror
and maté measures our vain hours.

Thin wisdom lost in death
I'm moved by
—books, a key, a body among others—
irrecoverable frequencies that for him
were friendship in this world.
I know all privilege, obscure however, is in the line of
and much this is to share this vigil,
gathered round one unknown: the Dead,
gathered to incommunicate or guard his first night in death.

(This wake wastes everyone's face;
our eyes die on high like Jesus.)

And the dead, the unbelievable?
His reality oddly beflowered
amd mortal hospitality give us
yet another memory for time
and sententious Southside streets to merit slowly
and an obscure breeze on my face turning
and night that from the greater anguish frees us:
the prolix real.