WHEN BERRYMAN DIED
He left his shoes, scuffed loafers,
on the bridge. A cordovan pair
he could have shed
anywhere: at the university
beside his desk, under Tate’s coffee table,
at the foot of a lover’s bed.
Every night he thought, tomorrow.
Mornings, he remembered
his suit at the cleaners, his essay
on Marlowe, students waiting
outside his office. January 7
reasons ran dry.
He bathed and trimmed his beard,
putting on a new shirt.
In eight degrees he walked
to the bridge.
First Published: Touchstone (2007-2008), Ed. David Murphy