The tombstone inscription only discernible
to the limbs of daddy long legs
and illiterate moss.
Josof Bulicek, my best guess
what your name might have been.
I know you lived to seventy-eight.
Was your death slow, creeping,
like the hundred years that stole
the last four letters in your name?
Did those around you sense it coming,
tucking away the intangible parts of you
for safe keeping?
The skeletal facts—name, birthday,
date of death— don’t hold much of you.
You died on 26 January 1916,
but I wonder about the other date,
when the world lost the last person
carrying the fractions of you.
When did the world lose the record
of your favorite shirt, the slant
of your mouth when you were angry,
your opinions of snowy mornings?
Have those bits of you outlasted
the letters in your name?
Who can remember when even stone forgets.