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By Larry Bradley

Learn from the man who spends much of his life speaking

             To the back of your head knowing what it means to follow


The razor’s edge along a worn strop or random thoughts

             As they spring so invisibly from the mind to a mouth


Who shouldered soldiers in two wars and fled fire fields

             Undecorated who fathered once but was fatherless forever


And who works his sentiments in deeper into your scalp

             Under a sign on the knotty-pine walls whose rubric reads


quot homines, tot sententiae which means he sees

             In you his suffering smells of horehound tonics and gels


Pillow heads and powders and a floor full of snippings

             Swept neatly every evening into a pile for the field mice


All those roundabout hours only a man who fixes his tie

             To clip crabgrass crowding a lady’s grave could believe


With a certain clean devotion and who would never for one

             Moment dream of hurting you when your back was turned


Source: Poetry (November 2010)

  • Living

Poet Bio

Larry Bradley
Larry Bradley’s poems have been published in The New Republic, Paris Review, Poetry Northwest, and in the online journal Blackbird. Frequently elegiac, his work is rich with alliteration and shows a deep knowledge of, and reverence for, natural landscapes. His awards include the New Millennium Writings Award.  See More By This Poet

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