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Keats on the Train

by L. Ward Abel


I saw Keats on the train today.

He looked speechless,

but I was speechless too.


Help me, Keats, if you can,

I thought, tell me about

survival, about living.


Sure enough, you would know.

I almost asked out loud

but didn’t


couldn’t, on this Thursday

an almost-day, a gray day,

and a silent one.


So later I wrote down

questions to ask him,

respectful of his decease.


Where are you now?

Did you go home?

Is it beautiful there?


Is it true there?

Do words really matter?

Do you live with God?


Do words really matter?

Do words really matter?

Does anything matter?


If I see him again, I’ll give

him the questions. If he doesn’t

show, I’ll try to answer them.