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AN ARTIST’S DEATH
For Bryant

I’ve often thought of writing about you,
And how your voice once filled the little square
How there was very little I could do
Except go to the funeral home, just where
They’d patched your broken face and made it new,
And covered breaks in bone to make you fair
Again with makeup, mucilage, and glue.
I watched a line of students snake through there –

This narrow clef of unsung dirge wound through
To see you still and silent, just to stare
At what had once been you; follow the queue –
Death had destroyed your voice. It was a mere
Two days ago your notes had filled the air.

Tear as it will at beauty, death can do
Nothing to lay its guts and sinews bare –
Still, you lay satin-boxed, beyond repair.

— This poem appears in the August 25, 2014, print issue of National Review.



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