by Tony Hoagland
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.