Last night I read myself to sleep
With John Berryman's "Opus Dei"
("A layman's winter mock-up," as he called it,
Of the Liturgy of the Hours).
I didn't know the man, of course.
He died when I was still a baby.
But speaking as a reader
And as a human being,
I wish he had stuck around,
Not taken that drastic final leap
Onto the icy Minneapolis riverbank.
He'd've written (who knows?) a hundred more Dream Songs,
And a dozen more Addresses to the Lord.
He would have attended Holy Mass,
And snarled perhaps at the dippy homilies.
He'd've been a dad to his young daughter
And a husband to his young wife.
He'd've been open to surprises,
To the pleasant startlements, the bright felicities,
To the unforeseeable turn-arounds,
To the small graces that sustain us
On even the worst of days.