I’ve just put a match to his papers,
his notes and jottings,
now that armed with death
– legitimate defence, you could say –
he’s imposed himself on life.
Among the fragments I‘ve burned
even a white scrap
on which he’d written
in a lower corner of its emptiness,
in a shaky hand, “Keep”.
That vulnerable verb
– the enigma of what endures
lost in thin air –
is none other than me, is every man
who insists on remaining and is not.
“Keep”, but I burnt it.
Love’s obstinate outcry.
Now that my life requires it
and I persist in this protraction,
I’m no longer a poet
but repudiate the essential man.