The blood caused insurrections—
poor mediators for insolent flesh,
for rotting bones, the stench
of marrow on your breath.

We never knew you were dying,
even as your eyes sank,
your laughing and anguish encased
in the same history of masters,

and wrinkled seers prayed we could
be legends when we, who fought
with sharpened tongue against rambling
and mortality, lay down to die.

We who had not seen come now
to know and recount our childhood—
how tormented age sculpts nostalgia
from unpolished youth, and the memories come.

And, almost thirty before speaking
of your dry-leaf skin, we weep not
from shame that a moment has passed
away, undisguised.

But that we have missed it.