The white bowls in the orderly cupboards filled with nothing. The sound of applause in running water. All those who've drowned in oceans, all who've drowned in pools, in ponds, the small family together in the car hit head on. The pantry full of lilies, the lobsters scratching to get out of the pot, and God being pulled across the heavens in a burning car. The recipes like confessions. The confessions like songs. The sun. The bomb. The white bowls in the orderly cupboards filled with blood. I wanted something simple, and domestic. A kitchen song. They were just driving along. Dad turned the radio off, and Mom turned it back on.
A cold wind, later, but no rain.
A bus breathing heavily at the station.
Beggars at the gate, and the moon
like one bright horn of a white
cow up there in space. But
really, must I think about all this
a second time in this short life?
This crescent moon, like a bit
of ancient punctuation. This
pause in the transience of all things.
Up there, Ishtar in the ship
of life he’s sailing. Has
he ripped open again his sack of grain?
Spilled it all over the place?
Bubbles rising to the surface, breaking.
Beside our sharpened blades, they’ve
set down our glasses of champagne.
A joke is made. But, really, must
I hear this joke again?
Must I watch the spluttering
light of this specific flame? Must I
consider forever the permanent
transience of all things:
The bus, breathing at the station.
The beggars at the gate.
The girl I was.
Both pregnant and chaste.
The cold wind, that crescent moon.
No rain. What difference
can it possibly make, that
pain, now that not a single
anguished cry of it remains?
Really, must I grieve it all again
a second time, and why tonight
of all the nights, and just
as I’m about to raise, with the
blissful others, my
glass to the silvery, liquid
chandelier above us?