for Vincent Leonard Price, Jr., 1911-1993

“...to enter into death with open eyes.”
“...to extend the human heart to life’s full measure.”
--Marguerite Yourcenar


Sinatra and Bing a-caroling,
a Hollywood December rain,
kid lights glazed
through clerestories in the sugared fog

--and you, ol’ boy, just there,
peaking out behind a Eucalyptus tree,
a rude Virgil

grinning with an infant’s squint of glee,
telling us to come along,
to pretend that we are dead, like you,
and go around the world as if we had no life to lose,

as if we’d lost it all already,
all that we adored, but had
one last chance to see it, timelessly,

for as long as we could feel it.
And so you take me by the hand
and tell me stories through the night.
We go to Rome, bathe our feet in cold white wine,

smooth the Venus of Cirene’s holy slopes,
fish the coast off Malibu,
watch ourselves together in Paris window panes,

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