To the Late Scholar

Stripped of wind and flowers, you stare
into the winter dusk with hands
dangling and your planisphere
depleted of its final goddess.
You never thought this would happen.
You didn’t believe that your death
would cancel magazine subscriptions
and wreak potholes deeper than your grave.
I tried to warn you that a mink
could kill every chicken in your coop,
that driving without watching the road
could wreck the most expensive auto.
The wind you wore to our wedding
has dropped, leaving the air as still
as cooling lava. The flowers
you grew in memory of childhood
droop frost-bitten and discouraged.
You wanted to explain the war
by parsing the home front in chapter
after chapter of wrought iron prose.
But you parked the car in Cambridge
and never found it again, your notes
in a laptop locked in the trunk.
Later, with your flesh uneasy
on your bones, you reported
the absence of songbirds and claimed
electromagnetic waves had killed
all insects, starving their predators.
Nothing you say will re-gather
the wind about your shivering self
or renew last summer’s flowers.
I want to wrap you in wool and down,
but that would remind you how naked
you’ve felt for years, the unwritten
part of you absorbing the light
while the rest of you swims away
in a sullen underground river.