Everyone should have a little fugue, she says, the young conductor taking her younger charges through the saddest of pieces, almost a dirge written for unholy times, and no, not for money. Ready? she tells them, measuring out each line for cello, viola, violin. It will sound to you not quite right. She means the aching half-step of the minor key, no release from it, that always-on-the-verge-of, that repeat, repeat. Everyone should have a little fugue-- I write that down like I cannot write the larger griefs. For my part, I believe her. Little fugue I wouldn't have to count.
The Carnivorous Plants
in exile, ganged up in this greenhouse of living ache
and want, shabby glassed-in room with a door propped open
by a dustpan under a scribbled please, keep locked,
underlined, underlined. Who wrote that, what guardian
of the wordless deep to abet these most patient other
bullies on their bright faded stalks breathing in
my carbon, giving back oxygen, not a gift, only something
to remind: the invisible exchange—love that first.
But trays and trays of dirt growing miniature time bombs,
tiny eyelids with a clamshell look, eyelashes if
brushed even slightly, they go for me. One clamps up
quick as I pull away. I’m its feed me right now,
I’m prey, then a total washout, too big for its wired-up little,
a tease. Slowly it reopens, resumes watch on this ocean
of sunlit muggy air, me swimming through my so important
afternoon to supper, to sleep. What to dream at night—
who knows how ruthless such a small empty creature
crazy to swallow all anything that happens by,
to give it a shot, a next world, a slow dissolve.
I have eyelids. I have eyelashes that shut down tight.