Sep 1967 • Vol. XXIX No. 4 Poetry |

The Theft

Not long after you were born, he left Talking nothing with him. I found No sign or certainty, no clue That he was gone. This gratuitous theft Became the theme of endless rounds Of cruel tales, spinning shadows on the wall, Entangling the truth as stories do And I believed them all. There, his photograph upon the mantel Reflects as much about him as I can. You see     his face is so much like your own Now I can scarcely sever man from man. He could perhaps come by this way again, Hail and silver-haired or Bald and bowed before his years. (Men are seldom older than they are Beyond the times of laughter and of tears, And no one I know ever died from pain.) On some uncertain day you'll meet Him mimicking that picture in the street. Better that an old man with a laugh should greet Himself crying, or a boy with a laugh Should meet his father crying in a photograph.

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Daniel Mark Epstein is a poet and biographer who has published more than twenty books of poetry and nonfiction. His "Sonnets For a Cruel April," provides the text for a short dramatic film with Tyne Daly, Jennifer Van Dyck, and other actors that will be available as a webcast and on Youtube in June 2020

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