Prolonged exposure to death Has made my friend quieter. Now his nose is less like a hatchet And more like a snuffler. Flames don't erupt from his mouth anymore And life doesn't crack his thermometer. Instead of overthrowing the government He reads fly-fishing catalogues And takes photographs of water. An aphorist would say The horns of the steer have grown straighter. He has an older heart that beats younger. His Attila the Hun imitation Is not as good as it used to be. Everything else is better.
Copyright © 2012 by Tony Hoagland. Used with permission of the author.