At last understanding
that everything my friend had been saying
for the thirty-three months since he knew
were words of the dog tag, words of, whatever else,
the milled and stamped-into metal of what stays behind.
Blackcap Mountain. Blue scorpion venom. Persimmon pudding.
He spoke them.
He could not say love enough times.
It clinked against itself, it clinked against its little chain.
Copyright © 2018 by Jane Hirshfield. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.