Not Coral but Agate by Jagari Mukherjee

(for Edgar Allan Poe)

“Of his bones are coral made” – Shakespeare, The Tempest

Not coral but of blue lace agate are your bones made.

Every night, a raven mourns…I hear him cry, and I wander

over to realms unknown, between Life and Death.

How did you surrender?

Suicide, murder, cholera, hypoglycemia, rabies, syphilis, influenza…

Easy ways to die, to slip into Oblivion, as we think

tottering at forty on the brink of the gothic unknown…

Were you sick? Were you mad?

(Truth is a skeleton in a veil. I wish her well.)

Did the Nicean barks of yore finally bear you home?

Are the seas you were wont to roam perfumed

with ambergis? Did Psyche set you up to this?

Our torment, fermenting beneath glass, or ice,

is the sea, the waves, the foam…

My yellow roses on your tomb spell sunshine,

valleys of green. A raven lurks unseen, always season

to mourn. My sojourn comes to an end.

I keep one lone blossom pressed between your pages.

It’s been ages, my Poet. Let’s rest.

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