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Now that we creep past in our own conditions
And catch in the dawn, along with the ancient moral
Of simple sheep, and shepherds, and our ambitions,
Reek of damp wool, pungency of torn laurel.
Early summer, 1982; August, 1996
a memorial in the neighborhood
It is a young oak tree and a stone
with a bronze plaque in it, for
a boy who lived all his life
in a house up the street from ours,
near the park entrance-road. He died in
his room over the garage, a suicide.
His mother had her memorial for him
placed on a piece of ground scraped bare
and packed hard, in the weedy area
at the upper end of the park,
between the creek and a trailhead
where you start out for the back-country.
We never knew, but knew of
the family. I glimpsed the father once --
handsome, dark-haired. Took off when the boy
was small, and the brothers grown
and gone; among the cousins and uncles
were artists and actors; some widely known.
The boy himself was a painter,
quiet and shyly friendly
the one time when I met him. After
his death we would see his mother
now and then, for a year or so,
then she sold the house and left.