The Incomprehensibility

The newly dead hung on to the ceiling last night  

            like moths, wanting to tell us what they hadn’t

              found words for yet, their bodies still

warm on their mattresses below—they did not look

              comfortable, passing themselves on the way

                      out . . . . Only mystery allows us

to live—Lorca wrote this on the back of one of his many

                drawings of a sailor, or of many sailors. Only

                          mystery & yet or so

I pull myself back again to a place wherein I can com-

               prehend, if only a glimmer, the moment my mother

                   will press a bullet into the chamber of her .38—

think of Fra Angelico’s Annunciation—nothing has happened,

              not yet, Mary’s back is to the Angel, his hand

                 hovers over her shoulder, not touching her, not

yet. It’s still not too late to turn back—a Sunday morning,

              we can hear the ocean, we can smell it, if we could get up

                       we could even see it. Junkies

can go to a clinic in downtown Vancouver now to shoot up

                      in safety—We can help them find

                  the vein, the pretty nurse says,

but we cannot depress the plunger . . . As I write this a Boeing 777

               along with all two hundred & thirty-nine souls onboard  

                        vanishes from the sky—

no distress call, no black box, no wreckage. By the time you

                 read this we will all know what happened (wormhole?  

                      drunk pilot?) but right now it is simply

gone. Let’s look again at the Annunciation, let’s think of

               the angel as a pretty nurse, let’s think of her wings as

                          possibility, her silence

as a syringe. Let’s put my mother in that airplane now, let’s

             let her circle forever, let’s imagine she too is unable to

                land. She glances out the window, sometimes

at the tops of the clouds, sometimes at someone’s sad house

           below. I know you’re still in there, she whispers, raising one

              finger. Poke a hole through the heavy curtains, she

mouths—you’ll see they are not even real.





Copyright © 2015 by Nick Flynn. Used with permission of the author.