When finally at 80 Sammy died
Polly gave me from the pantry packets
of dry noodle soup that Sammy
to the end drank down as supper.
Tureens of it, with swallows
from the pint I'd smuggle in, kept
Sammy blinking at the light
the final weeks. I lived below them
at the time and needed more than soup.
But in the parlor where they laid him out
we sat on high-back chairs amid the flowers
and marveled at how straight our Sammy lay.
Who prepared him must have brought
his gnomic back, twice at least,
full force across a knee.