A Variation on Machado

I worry much about the suffering
of Machado. I was only one when he carried
his mother across the border from Spain to France
in a rainstorm. She died and so did he
a few days later in a rooming house along a dry canal.
To carry Mother he abandoned a satchel
holding his last few years of poetry.
I've traveled to Collioure several times
to search for Machado's lost satchel.
The French fed him but couldn't save him.
There's no true path to a death —
we discover the path by walking.
We turn a corner on no road
and there's a house on a green hill
with a thousand colorful birds sweeping in a circle.
Are the poems in the basement of the house on the hill?
We'll find out if we remember earth at all.

Jim Harrison, "A Variation on Machado" from Dead Man’s Float. Copyright © 2016 by Jim Harrison. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Dead Man's Float (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
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