May 26, after midnight
Safe as houses they told us we'd be,
but we weren't able to assess relevance.
The quest to deny what we've lost
leads to cautions we can't invest in.
Who has claimed this task as his own—
facing the great unglued country,
trying to weigh his choices with drink,
then seizing the catalyst by the throat?
Hesitant, the audience stands
where you left them,
hanging inside a thought balloon
as the panic spreads
from seat to seat, everyone raising
one prolonged cry of grief,
a clamor as of many throats
slit at once. Is this
the Reaper's street, and have we
arrived at last, taking up
a fallen recorder to sound
what stops we please? Dull thuds
answer, as though books in a sack
plunging downstairs. We might
have to begin the great exodus
before summer commences
but haven't the nerve to pass through.
There will be clouds there, illumined,
of that we're certain in our blind need.
Like a giant corral, the present harbors
us, sets us apart, makes us stay in place.
We would return to zero if we could
and let the trickling voices run dry
but for now we're committed to night
as an open field that shapes thought.
Incrementally, she said,
is how she would remember me
as if putting toys in a box, one
by one. These antique ceremonies
flirt with more robust expressions,
to strike sparks from spare rocks
and relinquish their robes
for a fresh morning in a fresh place,
happy to serve fruit, cereal, coffee.
Seeking a mate, the Pronghorn
marks his ground, tries to make good.
No sooner are these parts assigned
but we must overturn the box of flour.
Tell the expectant others you know
that time has performed its thankless task.
Wearied of the tears you caused
I'm happy to say I forgive you your death.
©Donald Brown 2010/2013