“He’s gone to life’s next phase,” the mother wrote
to thousands in the database of prayer.
She typed her pain around a guru’s quote
and filled our monitors with grief. “Beware
the power of the sun. Apply your screen
without reserve.” Then every reader sighed.
As many as expected death, foreseen,
assured, yet almost everybody cried.

And yet … they didn’t have to bare their backs
when tilling dirt and digging pools. They might
have been respectful of the changes wrought
beneath the kiss of Helios: attacks
so bright they should have clothed their skin till night.
Instead of flesh, they might have humbled thought.

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