THE APOTHEOSIS OF DON JUNE
Promiscuous as moonlight on sand,
He pondered heaven by the foaming surf;
And staring at its brilliant text he saw
He’d never been voluptuous enough.
There were so many things his soul had missed
By never standing still and tasting life
– By frantically accepting the flat role,
Forgetting he was maker of his myth.
The night was warm, he breathed each flagrant smell.
What if no señorita stroked his wrist
And flattered the steel of his graying hair,
He knew how more than ever he flashed male.
How unimportant his small conquests, lusts –
Was not his placid life the sweetest tryst?
He puffed his cigarillo — live red sparks
Flew up as his charred ashes sought the stars.
– Richard O’Connell
This poem appears in the April 3 print edition of National Review.