On Hearing of a Former Student Stabbed in a Rumble

So at last you hold still, your angry bones
no longer rattle as you stalk, your tongue
has ceased its clatter. So much of good
goes masked in clay, I did not wonder
that beyond the croak and gallop to prove
you were alive, you were alive. Only now
I marvel your composure. Eighteen years
of unacknowledged joy has come so quick
to grief; spent with the wanton knife,
the blood silk shirt, the exhibition chino.
The ape erect, emerged long since from
evolutionary slime, has come this far
that now at last he need not kill with knives.
Some things go astray in that dark time
straddling ape and angel, some sad token
dropped into the seed stains the spirit
with remembrance: blood gallops in the fevered
brain, staring eyes say kill and kill, tongue
forks against the sharpened teeth. Your
slicked-down hair and leather heels betray
you to tomorrow’s wounds. But all your wars
are ended now, who fought well defending
what you knew: that man is never wrong. God
search your bones in whatever hostile turf.