I chased my Kurtz into the river’s savage tracts —
steamboat long since left behind —
portaging to lands above the cataract ledge.
You’ve heard it said, “You are every character in your dream?”
That thought flickered into my awareness
just as I realized I felt as much Kurtz as Marlow.
My sole consolation was that my Kurtz was dying.
And since I felt that one man can’t die two deaths —
[wishful thoughts of legacy be damned]
I felt my Marlow would outlive my Kurtz.
But when Kurtz-of-Dreamland sucked his last breath,
he didn’t stick to script with “The Horror! The Horror!”
Instead, he said, “Box my bones up for the elephants.”
Which seemed as nice as remembering his fiancée’s name —
as far as I was concerned.