I dig her up and plop her down in a wicker chair. She’s going to make apple sauce and I’m going to get drunk. She’s cutting worms out of the small green apples from the back yard and I’m opening up a bottle. It erects like a tower in the city of my mouth. The way she makes apple sauce it has ragged strips of skin and spreads thickly over toast. It’s infamous; eating it is as close to God as I’m going to get, but I don’t tell her. There’s a dishtowel wrapped around her head to keep her jaw from falling slack— Everything hurts. But I don’t tell her that either. I have to stand at the callbox and see what words I can squeeze in. I’m getting worried. If I dig her up and put her down in the wicker chair I’d better be ready for the rest of the family to make a fuss. I better bring her back right. The whole house smells of cinnamon and dust. We don’t speak. She’s piling the worms up in a bowl and throwing them back into the yard.
Erotic dancing takes the place of Greek tragedy
just as the gladiatorial fights did in Rome—but it is a
no one can touch or see. A feeling every day I enter and close
a curtain behind. Sitting alone with it,
looking at it through a tiny hole,
something lithe and naked, shaking in the spotlight
beyond which I can never reach—
suffering cannot do what it did for Christ.
We do not get to go home afterward, cannot be
imagined into the arms of the absent father. See how
I do not rise up or shift the stone, do not
inspire a nation—I sit at the bar
consuming fried food. I put $5 into a machine
and shoot bucks with a long green rifle,
not speaking, not calling out anyone’s name,
just me and the deer
grazing in a digital clearing of the wood.
I can’t tell anymore for whom I grieve.
and more catastrophic has died
but died out of necessity—something that thought itself
something burst from every atom
outward, like autumn fireworks over the lake
I’m just recording its scream and glitter-down,
just making a serial
from its fantastical, dazzling demise—
I can’t tell anymore whether I am grieving you particularly
or I simply find life and death erroneous—this
big expired grief
like a limb people deny ownership of, find
in their beds and throw on the floor, only to be told
again and again, when the
whole body is thrown with it—that it is
it is theirs, that they were
born with it.