For just as a misunderstanding germinates in a clear sky, climbing like a comma from rack to misunderstood rack of worried clouds, now difficult, now brusque, foregrounded, amoral, the last birds took off into the abyss. Now it was just us, though shielded, separate, disparate. It almost seems— and yet it doesn't. Broken glass announces more offenses, home invasions. Seems like we've been here a long time. And still ought to do those things. Every murk is a key. No, it's all right, don't worry. The long-fingered peninsulas have other fish to fry as destiny germinates on summer sands, more lap top than lap dog. And if I'd bargain you around the aisles, don't touch it, it's a single thing. We don't know what breviaries are mixing cocktails for us in the V room. It's essential we be kept out of the cordon. You should know. This is all about you: how you arrived one cold day carrying your little knapsack and crept in with us, to see how we could spell. Others than old uncles hear us now, hacking the website's early spoilage distribution plan.
From Quick Question, published by Ecco/HarperCollins. Copyright © 2012 by John Ashbery. Used with permission of the author.
This poem previously appeared in jubilat, issue 21.
John Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, on July 28, 1927.
Date Published: 2012-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/bells-ii