Saturday, November 28, 2015

To Dance With Henry

To Dance With Henry (To the Memory of Henry Braun, 1930-2014)

The same ground -
born in upstate New York,
Brandeis for undergrad,
BU for grad, Temple to teach,
both of us ABD.
at twenty four years' distance
that you broke down
with blue glints of laughter.

You knew all my favorite profs
and the ones I would have liked
to know.

You organized teach ins.
They spoke.
You read poems
that danced, then damned
the time and its war machines
in gentle anger so deep
that hate itself must have bled
on hearing.

Much later,
you made time for my questions
even those that caught you up
in spirals of ifs and mights
and rendered you late.

Your poems pressed each word
into flowers of the angriest colors,
which flowered into change
catching several fires
that woke us like war flares
into remembering.

I realized way too late
that your workshop
would have opened me
without tearing.

One day I will go to Maine,
stretch out to your essence
that dances the grave,
another amused smile,
wry gentle beauty
that catches itself just short
of anger.

Will you greet me?

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