Dark Souvenirs

—for Richard

I studied your craft,
how you drove the demon of gluttonous age
from its hiding place,
freeing the infant who starved for 84 years,
pang & its host
dismantled w/ a single twitch.
Little mess, little clean-up,
nailbrush, toothbrush, soapy sponge.
No mention in the real-estate ad,
the previous owner’s
impeccable marksmanship.
No way to preserve your opus,
air that still trembles,
trying to catch its breath.
Memory does its best
to salvage a keepsake
–pulp, bullet, bone,
a new constellation in the night sky–
but symbols are lost,
art fails, except as it screams at the dead.
I hope what remains of you
can recognize my voice.