When he died his heirs discovered an accumulation
in his clothes: in a left pants pocket a torn belt loop
and a lozenge embittered by lint, in the right
a coin with the face of a dehydrated president.
From a back pocket — the one without a wallet —
they extracted a shy ticket stub. An old suit
contained an invitation to an empire's collapse,
an expired analgesic, and a steadfast comb.
From an oversized robe they dislodged, with effort,
a sleepless night that inspired his preoccupied mind.
From a leather jacket they set free an American
highway parallel to a longer, more scenic route.
At last they removed each item from the pocket nearest his heart:
a crushed pine cone, an unattached button, a charred ambition.
— Alan Elyshevitz