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Recriminations of a Left-Hand Man

I knew it had to come, but according

to my plans, and to the arrangement

of "usual arrangements," I'd be dead

by that time. And I am: dead to the world

in which I was so recognizably alive.

Of course I never guessed how it would come.

(Guessing wasn't in the cards we held close

to the chest.) Other people--everyone

else--were the ones who had to guess. "Keep them

guessing," Roy would say. He liked saying that.

And other people did guess. They guessed how

it would come, luckily, I am dead,

as far as anyone can testify.

(Now there's a word.) This morning when Rachel,

who thinks she wants to be an actress, read

the drivel in the Times about that play,

I knew I was dead: not even names

(Roy always said, after too many shorts

of us two drunk, "no names, please")

--but a Pulitzer! what the fuck is that!

And when she asked, as any midwestern

thirteen-year-old might innocently ask,

"Daddy, who was Roy Cohn?" it was childsplay

to explain. Did I know anything more

than any daddy in Columbis, O?

Did I need to know anything at all?

By now there had been so many others

between what I was and what he needed

that no one even remembers I was

first. Ray's first, not mine. Let me take a guess:

that made it easier for all of us--

and none of that stuff ever since. Ever?

Ask Rachel's mom if she had any cause

to be dissatisfied. Forty years on,

who the hell else could you ask?


And as for David Schine's satisfactions,

no one ever asks. I'd say, being dead,

they're overrated--as they were for Roy,

they are for me,. and will be for Rachel,

just wait around and see. Love you, daddy.



Richard Howard