Howard Firkin
Just one death—not a nation or a race—
a drunk who kept his trousers up with string,
a barnacle upon the ship of state,
a name, a history, not worth preserving.
      He stank of old sweat, piss, and cheap sweet sherry.
The portal vein had swollen like a hawser
until today. The varices went pop
and pints of blood surprised this morning’s corpse;
blood ran like rats before an open seacock:
      and off he bobbed to foul another ferry.

Somebody found him. Someone came and hosed
away the bloodstains of his final act.
His ashes will be buried. It’s supposed
he had no kin. Someone records the fact.