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I Won You Lost

Written by: Philip Levine | Biography
 The last of day gathers 
in the yellow parlor 
and drifts like fine dust 
across the face of 
the gilt-framed mirror 
I ofien prayed to. 
An old man's room 
without him, a room I 
came back to again 
and again to steal 
cigarettes and loose change, 
to open cans of sardines, 
to break open crackers 
and share what he had. 
Something is missing. 
The cut glass ashtray 
is here and overflowing, 
the big bottle of homemade, 
the pack of English Ovals, 
the new red bicycle deck 
wrapped in cellophane 
and gold edged, the dishes 
crusted with the last snack. 
The music is gone. The lilt 
of his worn voice broken 
with the weight of all 
those lost languages -- 
"If you knew Solly like 
I knew Solly, oy oy 
oy what a girl." That music 
made new each day and absent 
forever from the corners 
ofrooms like this one 
darkening with dusk. 
The music a boy would laugh 
at until it went out 
and days began and ended 
without the banging fist, 
without the old truths 
of blood and water, without 
the loud cries of I won, 
you lost, without song.