by Ray Freed

THE town is saddened, indeed made less
by the loss of our Mister Hanley, a man
civil to others and uncomplaining,

his mouth fixed in a smile, a man
who attended Sunday church and believed,
who watched his diet carefully,

drank only socially,
took daily exercise, worked
conscientiously at his vocation

and never spoke against the order,
braved his doctor often, dentist
twice a year, and slept alone

as prevention against contamination,
who planned his days with foresight and care,
watching over their many parts

like a mama hen her brood,
who passed on Wednesday last while taking
his evening walk. Witnesses report

the lines of his exemplary life converged
with those of an apparently random bolt
of lightning, there being no storms about.

(Previously published in Street Magazine.)

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