Flesh Fade, and Mortal Trash

David Graham

      Flesh fade, and mortal trash
Fall to the residuary worm; world’s wildfire, leave but ash

            —Gerard Manley Hopkins

Across the street roofers swarm over hot shingles
chattering in Spanish as they hammer or yank out nails.
I understand the details of their work as little
as I follow their words. It’s all tone, like praise
or chastisement to a dog. It’s a sort of song, lovely as flame,
and yes, I’m the dog. We’re all scurrying in the fire.

David Graham is currently enjoying his 37th and final year of college teaching, the past 29 taking place at Ripon College in Wisconsin. His books include Stutter Monk (Flume Press) and After Confession (Graywolf Press), an essay anthology co-edited with Kate Sontag.

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