Here he is again, sitting beside me,
Tall and spare, with crooked teeth
That should have been fixed when he was young.

He used to visit attics often,
Bringing down with him when he returned
From lofty realms and dust, 
Memories of the south when he was young,
Of women who were ladies, or so he thought —

Dressed in taffeta and bows and looking back
Into the hourglass rustling on the mantel,
Listening to the songs spun on the spinet
In keys of black and white.
                                                   Here he is
Playing table tennis viciously,
Lost in the game that he refused to lose,
Slicing the little sphere until it fell
Out of orbit, where? One never knew.

We loved the man, our friend and our opponent,
Teacher and competitor. Now he lives
In the attics of our minds, and we are old
Ourselves; therefore we climb the creaking stair
To find what's left of him in an ancient trunk
Full of lace and dust, of leaves and bindings.