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  • © 2013 Sigman Shapiro All Rights Reserved

For L. Cohen – on longing

An old man writes his pain in words
like fire sears its name across
the white flesh of an oak tree’s corpse

The sum of all he leaves undone
is laid out on the thin wood page
a map to where we all have been

His words so clear, so hard to see
yet ink will fade, the paper rot
the worms will add their own decay

And me, I mumble  in my cell
and scratch these words on crumbling walls
afraid to say the truth out loud
I don’t know what I’m scribbling for.

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