There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization.
Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,
For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.
I called up tech and got the voicemail code.
It’s taken me this long to find my feet.
Since last we spoke that evening it has snowed.
Fifty-four new messages. Most are old
and blinking into a future months complete.
I contacted tech to get my voicemail code
to hear your voice, not some bozo on the road
the week of Thanksgiving dubbing me his sweet
and breaking up and bleating how it snowed
the Nashville side of Chattanooga and slowed
the beltway to a standstill. The radio said sleet.
The kid in tech sent on my voicemail code.
I blew a night on lightening the system’s load,
woke to white enveloping the trees, the street
that’s blanked out by my leaving. It had snowed.
Lately others’ pasts will turn me cold.
I heard out every message, pressed delete.
I’d happily forget my voice, the mail, its code.
We spoke at last that evening. Then it snowed.
The wonderful workings of the world: wonderful,
wonderful: I’m surprised half the time:
ground up fine, I puff if a pebble stirs:
I’m nervous, my morality’s intricate: if
a squash blossom dies, I feel withered as a stained
zucchini and blame my nature: and
when grassblades flop to the little red-ant
queens burring around trying to get aloft, I blame
my not keeping the grass short, stubble
firm: well, I learn a lot of useless stuff, meant
to be ignored: like when the sun sinking in the
west glares a plane invisible, I think how much
revelation concealment necessitates: and then I
think of the ocean, multiple to a blinding
oneness and realize that only total expression
expresses hiding: I’ll have to say everything
to take on the roundness and withdrawal of the deep dark:
less than total is a bucketful of radiant toys.
Neptune, seen from the Keck Observatory in the infrared (wavelength 1.17-1.3 microns), 11 August 2004. (Program ID N19N2.)