Elegy for Frank Stanford

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Elegy for Frank Stanford
by Thomas Lux

1949-1978

A message from a secretary tells me first
the heavy clock you were
in your mother's lap
has stopped. Later, I learn who
stopped it: you,
with three lead thuds,
determined insults, to your heart.
You dumb f*k, Frank.
I assume, that night, the seminarians
were mostly on their knees
and on their dinner plates only a few
wing bones -- quiet flutes
ahead of the wind.... I can almost
understand, Frank: your nerves'
oddometer needle waving
in danger, your whole
body, in fact, ping-raked, a rainbow
disassembling. You woke, in the dark,
dreaming a necklace of bloodsuckers....
But that final gesture,
Frank: irreversible cliche!
The long doorman of the east continues
his daily job, bending slightly
at the waist to wave dawn past.
Then the sparrows begin
their standard tunes, every day, Frank,
every day. There's the good hammer-
music in the poles
of north and south; there's the important
rasp of snake over desert and rock;
there's agriculture -- even when it fails:
needle-sized carrots, blue pumpkins;
and presidencies, like yours, Frank,
of dredging companies, but presidencies....

You must have been desiring exit badly.
So now, you're a bit of gold to pound
back into the earth, the dew, of course,
forever lapping your toes, --
Frank, you dumb f*k, -- who loves you
loves you regardless.