Three-ten in the morning and I am thinking
about the two white-and-gray feathers.
You really should have seen them,
the way they were. Resting side
by side, parallel parked on the scorch
of asphalt desert stretching lost
behind the defunct community stage.
With my luck as it pertains to you and
you alone in our one-strike world,
they'd have been long gone by the
time I led you to see. Two birds or one?
I know what you'd say, as I always do--
my pointless rubber-band snapping of
the dead air between the synapses still
promised off to you, you and your gentle
eyes, you in your village garb--
you, the tailor's grandson who dared
to take my shepherdess hand when no
one was looking.
The dead cows and the soiled embroidery
and the stale sesame bagels never got
the message: the time for dowries is
long past. They wait at the ready, still, in
a carved alder box in a damp earth
cellar, because some love knows nothing
but wait and love and wait.
You'd probably like me to set the rest
of the scene, keep things moving. Yes, I can
be so tedious this way, building skyscraper
word towers on my red Xs, wherever I'd like
take your hand and climb to that different
view. Just once I'd like to break the curse,
offer you the last live calf, a bright blue
stitched bow around its neck, a fresh bagel
in its soft sweet mouth.
Never mind. I will talk to you now about
hard hot asphalt: someone's fault,
that untraceable variety that worsens migraines.
Point your finger all you like, but you walk on it too,
away from your car and its invisible emissions,
nocturnal and otherwise, clouds of Renaissance
onion breath, the breath you'd wished you'd
saved once in this very lot. I know better than
to ask you if you remember.
I chased you across this black Sahara into
the red room full of artist-idiots and idiot artists,
fat tears mortifying my own idiotic flesh better than
any hair shirt from the Martyr Gap.
Listen, although you will not, but goddamn it,
I would be pleased to be wrong once:
Always Dear, I maintain I had a point, still do.
I will forever work night shifts as the maintenance man
of what we were, mopping up the burst garbage bags
neither of us saw coming, unclogging the the corner toilet
full of shit and piss and blood and breastmilk and semen
and puke, sorting and tagging the leftovers of the
grotesque and gorgeous art of our once-shared life.
It's a crap job and nobody's got to do it, except there
are these women who will ask someday what I found.
I like to have a few answers when I can. I'd like to
tell the women it's amazing, what you find in the stinking
bins, in the slick drains, when everyone else has gone home.
Why, just this week I've found an expression of yours on
the face of a child--
the tailor's grandson risen from the dead
of the wretched urinal floor,
flown up into her eyes,
blessing everything she said to me,
every word that knew nothing and never would.