Not just the cosmos you have thickly sown into the small field
just east of your heart, but all that is held
in disbelief, in unfaith. Not only the barbed paragraphs of scrub
willows or the thoughts as thin as telephone wires,
but what’s left of the salt lick of your soul,
or of the woman you married.
And what isn’t: that half-built house, laid bare and open,
forsaken by the suicidal bricklayer, the carpenter’s deconstructing
hands. The winged mail carrier, just now
rounding the corner, feeling depressed again,
praying for deliverance or rain. No, not just that.
Not only the Dostoyevsky reeling
in his walkman: but everything the brothers did, thought about
doing, said …
And all that is held so high.
And all that is swimming, way underneath it.
Not just the trajectory, not only the first stone
or the second, but what’s left in your wrist, that which is
ancient, the African village that dances inside you, the medicine
you are feeding and the whole sky. The sky that’s no longer refusing
the ground and the heretics, the martyrs; the skeptics now willing
to take certain things under consideration:
the god that exists, and the one that doesn’t.
Not just the determination of the stars, but the stars
newly determined to understanding the clear
clear night. The blind appetite
of the senses, so well fed, it’s dreaming of vinegar
and malt. And everything else
you can’t, as luck will have it, bring yourself
to consider: the white-tailed deer stepping gently
out of the scratchy thicket,
her soft warm tongue, sweet and fresh as milk.
And all those quiet hours when you thought you knew
what you were talking about,
but were only scrubbing your soul with salt,
saying: let what is grain turn to grain,
just not meaning it.