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Three Elegies for Jimmy Schuyler


"Never fuss about a room."


I saw him Thursday, and two days
later he is dead. Poetry’s biting stream
has flowed through him and ceased.
He caused us to examine our sleeping,
bright epithets arose from his way
of calling. And the timer pings.
He had a way of focusing, of letting
the detail be transported into
something huge and white like
the Vatican. He couldn’t speak
on Thursday, but seemed to understand
us. I held his hand. He grabbed
me tight. Trucks took the garbage
away. Two toes were missing.
He indicated he wanted the sheet
off, then dragged it back.
I was going to give him a copy
of my book, then decided to mail it,
since he couldn’t hold anything.
He greeted transatlantic boat
travelers, but had no time
to wear them out. A steady,
single hum pervaded his life,
miming Truth & Justice, till
a damp array of verdure tumbled
toward me, allowing me to see him
as I always had: a seer able
to react and a creator bent
to originate. I hallucinate.