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For Jean Follain

For Jean Follain
Some evenings a poet will turn

Down a ride and decide to walk home
After the banquet where he was honored
By members of a boat club

Still feeling the roughness of their hands
In his soft hand as he walks
In his coat the medallion they gave him
Already forgivably forgotten
It will be that hour when women change
For dinner before bathroom mirrors
Pins pressed between their lips
Listening over their shoulders

To what their husbands

Aren't saying from the bedroom

Where they stand wiping their glasses

On their untucked white dress shirts
They don't yet know that

They'll never make it to dinner
Because they're fated to

Hit a poet on the way

Though even as his body lies

Bleeding in the street
He will go on walking

Invisibly along the Seine

While in the restaurant where

They had reservations
The silverware is entering the dark
Of others' mouths

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