Published in the print edition of the March 29, 2021, New Yorker issue.

Walking among the graves for exercise
Where do you get your ideas how do I stop them
Looking for Mike Mazur’s marker I looked
Down at the grass and saw Stanislaw Baranczak
Our Solidarity poetry reading in Poznan
Years later in Newton now he said I’m a U.S.
Liberal with a car like everybody else
When I held Bobo dying in my arms
His green eyes told me I am not done yet
Then he was gone when he was young he enjoyed
Leaping up onto the copy machine to press
A button and hear it hum to life and rustle
A blank page then another out onto its tray
Sometimes he batted the pages down to the floor
I used to call it his hobby here’s a marble
Wicker bassinet marking a baby’s grave
To sever the good fellowship of dust the vet’s
Needle first a sedative then death now Willie
Paces the house mowling his elegy for Bobo
They never meow to one another just to people
Or to their nursing mother when they’re small I
Marvel at this massive labelled American elm
Spreading above a cluster of newer names
Chang, Ohanessian, Kondakis joining Howells,
Emerson, Parkinson and here’s a six-foot sphere
Of polished granite perfect and inscribed Walker
Should I have let him die his own cat way
Bruce Lee spends less on a stone than Schwarzenegger
The cemetery official confided what will mark
The markers when like mourners they bow and kneel
And topple down flat to kiss the very heaps
They have in trust under the splendid elm
Also marked with its tag a noble survivor
Civilization lifted my cat from the street gave him
A name and all his shots and determined his death
Now Willie howls the loss from room to room
When people say I’m ashamed of being German
Said Arendt I want to say I’m ashamed of being
Human sometimes when Bobo made the machine
Shoot copies of nothing I crumpled one he could chase
And combat practicing the game of being himself.

At Mt. Auburn Cemetery