After Pavese

Though his eyes are open, the dead man is not
all that moved by the stars. Body shaped to the fall,
he sprawls shattered. The evening grows colder, the living
are nowhere in sight. It was useless to try to keep track
of them all: who ran up his back stairs, who stumbled
into his neighbor’s cellar, who walks through the fields
through the night and will throw himself down on the furrows
at dawn. Whose face, tomorrow, bent over its work,
will twist to its grief. Who will witness this, wordless.

Though the blood in his hair holds his head to the street,
he does not hold much stock in the stars. The living,
asleep, could each pass for the dead man. If two
lie together, the air between still holds a charge,

but only the air. Their bodies are done in, pressed against
the mattress as if to the stained stones. They’re grateful

to die a little at night. Around each, a darkness coagulates.
The dead man alone lies out in the light. It’s his right

to not admire the sky. It’s his right to look down on its dark
uniform adorned with all those glittering revolutions. 

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