Embers (audio only)
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It was all so different than he expected.
For years he’d been agnostic; now he meditated.
For years he’d dreamed of being an artist living abroad;
now he reread Baudelaire, Emerson, Bishop.
He’d never considered marriage . . .
Still, a force through green did fuse.
Yes, he wore his pants looser.
This well-used little bag is just the right size
to carry a copy of the Psalms. Its plain-woven
flowers and helicopter share the sky with bombs
falling like turnips—he who makes light of other
men will be killed by a turnip. A bachelor,
I wear it across my shoulder—it’s easier to be
a bachelor all my life than a widow for a day.
On the bag’s face, two black shapes appear
to be crows—be guided by the crow and you
will come to a body—though they are
military aircraft. A man who needs fire
The pony and the deer are trapped by tanks,
and the lady with the guitar is sad beyond words.
Hurtling across the sky, a missile has mistaken
a vehicle for a helicopter, exploding in a ball
of white flame. Upside-down birds—red specks
of knotted wool—glow above the sideways trees.
Hidden among plants, a barefooted boy waits—
like the divine coroner—aiming his rifle at something,
enjoying the attentions of a gray doggy, or maybe
there’s a bullet already in his head.