You are never mentioned on Ararat
or elsewhere, but I know a woman’s hand
in salvation when I see it. Lately,
I’m torn between despair and ignorance.
I’m not a vegetarian, shop plastic,
use an air conditioner. Is this what happens
before it all goes fluvial? Do the selfish
grow self-conscious by the withering
begonias? Lately, I worry every black dress
will have to be worn to a funeral.
New York a bouillon, eroded filigree.
Anything but illness, I beg the plagues,
but shiny crows or nuclear rain.
Not a drop in London May through June.
I bask in the wilt by golden hour light.
Lately, only lately, it is late. Tucking
our families into the safeties of the past.
My children, will they exist by the time
it’s irreversible? Will they live
astonished at the thought of ice
not pulled from the mouth of a machine?
Which parent will be the one to break
the myth; the Arctic wasn’t Sisyphus’s
snowy hill. Noah’s wife, I am wringing
my hands not knowing how to know
and move forward. Was it you
who gathered flowers once the earth
had dried? How did you explain the light
to all the animals?
it is you who leaves. So I set out
to read for signs of imminence,
the same river twice stepped in.
Morning rises gently on the harbor;
our letters come disguised as life.
We know the score but fracture
on fact. We sign a dotted line
made out of promise—the pipes
in November clanging on with heat,
the window left at night a little open.
I love you; then what? Hands
suddenly alive. I plead with time,
adamant, remorseless. So we begin
in earnest; what then? I plead
with time, adamant, remorseless.
Hands suddenly alive. I love you;
then what? The pipes in November
clanging on with heat, the window
left at night a little open. We sign
a dotted line made out of promise—
we know the score but fracture
on fact. Our letters come disguised
as life; morning rises gently on
the harbor. So I set out to read
for signs of imminence, the same
river twice stepped in. One way
or another, it is you who leaves.