poem for bruce

Under the roof is the empty room
papered in requiem blue.
 
Partiers crowd the burned kitchen,
gold fixtures hook to cheap lath.
 
What is it they can tell you about absence
how it abates, takes names
 
Becomes a wall with windows
faced on a formal garden, content
 
To accept the thin rain. The syllable
forgives the words that need it, a sentence
 
Badly written, epigraphs scrawled
thoughtlessly in books. Book where the hero
 
confronts a dark riddle, book where
the suitors stand at the gate and are stumped.
 
What force brought them forward
stooping at the lintel, up the chipped steps
 
To the blue door in the unbuilt tower,
half-built, the new stone.

Rodney Koeneke, "poem for bruce." Copyright © 2018 Rodney Koeneke. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2018)
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