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Published: Wed Oct 15 1975
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
AGNI 4 Loss Mysteries Relationships

After his suicide, she unpacked her mind
of calumnies and guilts. The cedar chest
took care of everything else: diplomas, rings,
pipe rack and pipes, fraternity keys.

Faithless but no felon, she had no accusers.
It was all his fault—weak man,
consummate sadist,

to die like that—to fall and fall,
conscious after fifteen flights of air,
to stare, to mutter his Christian name,
and thus give columnists heroic news.

A remarkable thing, to live, survive,
even single minutes beyond that
terrible, terminal thud. It was,
they wrote, undoubtedly due

to his splendid build,
to ritual years of sport,
to national victories.

And she—she was a failed teammate,
that was all.

Luckily, his old school won
the Poughkeepsie Regatta
again that year.

Eighteen minutes,
thirty-three-point-six seconds.

Record time.

See what's inside AGNI 4
Night in August
AGNI 91 Loss Parenthood Relationships
Looking for Arrowheads
AGNI 91 Loss Nature Relationships
Accidental Practitioners
AGNI 91 Education Loss Relationships
Burial Day
Online 2019 Loss Mysteries On Poetry
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