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Late Pieta

Because, in spite of the splendor

it's revealed in him, in spite of a lifetime

unbinding its homeliest and sublime

expression from locked, stone-fast torpor,

the body is not at the end godlike, bends

in the wrong places, drags its feet and head

sloppily, incontinent--let it dangle here,

pregnant with true origin and destiny.

And because at the end someone must be there,

some one or two (for it is heavy) to suffer

its new demands, let them be tender, a worn

father, a young mother, like his, though neither

would comprehend anymore his need

now--dim memory? premonition?--to be lifted.

By Philip White