Atar Hadari

Tony Soprano’s Son-in Law (Ed Vassalo)


The Death of All the Poor by Miroslav Huptych

I opened my old school’s magazine
And found a death notice for an actor
I had not seen in twenty years.
He played some roles for me when we were younger.
I looked him up to find obituaries, tributes that might matter –
But only a paid death notice in the Times
No lasting sense of what he’d done, what was the sticking plaster,
What the wound, what kept him sometime from disaster?
No star. In fact, among the few remains
Google washed up was Philip Seymour Hoffman,
As if there wasn’t any actor dead
Couldn’t lose his lustre from that setting monster –
But if a string of roles in off-Broadway shows
And a recurring role in the Sopranos,
(Tony’s son in law) doesn’t merit more
Than the gloss of a few friends you helped put on their pantos
What hope is there for those who didn’t finally matter?
Leukemia they said it was. Brave battle lost.
Leaves a wife, no pitter patter.
The names of charities he’d care to name
(including the company mentioned hereafter)
But no idea what caused his free for all
-Is it just a thing that comes for us all –
No saying what we did before we saw
That glint of a river over the horizon
A last role photographed in an exceptional resolution
That turns out on to be one we never got beyond.


About the writer:
Atar Hadari’s Songs from Bialik: Selected Poems of H. N. Bialik (Syracuse University Press) was a finalist for the American Literary Translators’ Association Award. His debut collection, Rembrandt’s Bible, was published by Indigo Dreams in 2013. Lives of the Dead: Poems of Hanoch Levin was awarded a Pen Translates grant and is out now from Arc Publications. He contributes a monthly verse bible translation column to MOSAIC magazine.

Image: The Death of All the Poor by Miroslav Huptych (1952-). Collage/computer graphic from the cycle Labyrinth of the World and Paradise of the Heart. 1000 x 700 mm. 2013. By free license.