Philitas of Cos

Thin, frail, tutor to the heir. Fascinated
by pedantry, you studied the collective lexicon,
brought order to the language, pondered paradox.
Your mistress, the chatterbox, personified
your passion, but could not keep you.

At either 55 or 70, lack of food
or lack of sleep made you wastive.
You withered and wanzed as you cogitated,
at once so witty and so wanting of wit.

You should have put the weights
in the soles of your shoes so the wind
couldn’t carry you across the Aegean.
Your bones are soundless now and unusable
for flutes. In the end your word was wasted.

"Philitas of Cos" first appeared in The Red Clay Review