To a Fellow Poet
Sir, you are tough, and I am tough.
But who will write whose epitaph?
Twice I have visited Brodsky's grave. It is in the Venice Cemetery or Reporto which was ordered to be built by Napoleon and it is situated on an island in the lagoon. This was done to prevent disease and epidemics from spreading through the community. Brodsky's grave is near, but not next to, Ezra Pound's grave.
The first time I went to the graveside I saw there an empty vodka bottle, many seashells and a plastic folder containing letters to the poet which had been written by schoolchildren. The second time, in 2010, there was just a hat and a rose . . . and still no epitaph.