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.
This time of year the birds fly in elegant mobs,
tragic and sinister against gathering clouds.
It always made me sad to see the one trailing at the end, who I thought was
falling behind, tripping like a head of a musical note;
dark dots making swirls over and around the obscene billboards,
gathering in the empty trees like relentless matching ornaments—
no distinction between them from this distance,
their eyes kept from me, their hearts blue-red compasses
leading to Florida—
I watch them like a child might watch a father love
another child better—they smash into commuter planes or into a sky-blue tower
(the greatest trick of humans, making the sky into matter—),
those little feathery dinosaurs stopping at the mall ponds
to drink, calling to one another, sensing the change
in the wind, working as a team—it makes me want
to get stoned on the front steps, lit from within—seeing
these migrating jewels, elegant survivors, feathered delicacies,
musical geniuses, flinging themselves like a ballerina
made of smaller ballerinas;
these small dwindling barrettes of Nature—
there’s simply nothing more important than them making it.
I want to haul my mattress onto the roof.
I want to compare them to the stars, to light, to pepper.
I want to follow them. Want to do something
other than take this exit off the freeway
and leave them in my rearview mirror:
fumbling clear black angels, backup dancers, flawless cheerleading squad
from some more transcendent universe
piling up on one another, perfectly—swallowing the sky like a silk scarf,
above, silent, powerful, better than me, in every way,
hustling over the shipwrecked world.