The Innisfree Poetry Journal

by Mark Thalman

The Long Walk Home

                                    for Richard Hugo

Tonight, in the Milltown Union Bar,
the customers are raising glasses
with your name on their lips.

Dick, we knew you were sick.  
At the symposium you took a handful of pills
when you thought no one was looking.

After giving up cigarettes, you traded your addiction
for ice cream.  A mixing bowl full
was the right size to kill the craving.

Then you appeared in
Life Magazine
wearing a hospital gown and boxer shorts!
(Elegies are always so damn bad except for Roethke's.)

The day before you died, you dialed the Stafford's.
Bill wasn't there, so you told Dorothy you were working
on your sandals for the long walk home.

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