Magazine April 16, 2012, Issue

Lear in Florida

Palm trees blow in wind and rain at a home on the Intra coastal waterway in Boynton Beach, as hurricane Frances approaches Florida, September 4, 2004. (Marc Serota/Reuters)

Lear had no grandchildren to aggrandize
him, fondle him with kisses, no photos kept
in a drawer, to convince him he’s alive:
time slices, filial fawning, thin as thought.

What denouement but fall into default
on a limited income of forced love
in a world where torment is the leaden rule
and dog eats dog and push dumbs down to shove.

In times as perilous, pitiless as these,
why shouldn’t an old man run wild, insane,
without a hovel near to hide his head
against assessments and the hurricane?

A fallen world like that of frantic Lear
in Florida who rode his wheelchair out
off a balcony. The condo swept him up
so quick he …

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