poetry
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My Granbabies Going Without

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What did Mandela eat to reach 94 and
Be just now preparing to die? If not
For TB and insides rendered weak
Would we be allowed to keep him longer–

Would Death find some other way
To touch him? I want to leave
For South Africa so I can touch him
Without defiling his body– so I can see

The land he left behind and cry
With his people instead of alone in my car
With the news– BBC telling me he’s in
Critical condition as though they’re reporting

The weather– two months ago cloudy:
They dug up Neruda’s body–
Last month a storm when they tried
To auction Gandhi’s blood. Decades from now

When we are all dust will they
Cut out Mandela’s lungs and
Sell them to the highest bidder?
Will a collector of parts put them

In his study or a museum acquire a new piece–
Little girls and boys will walk past the remnants
Of tissue never guessing the name
Of who they came from– never reading

The plaque between the Nobel flesh and
The case that holds the robes of the man
From the mountains– gold and red, square
Glasses– the last of the prophets of peace.

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