On the corner of Broadway and Elm.
[A bus stop. She stands with her arms out.
Her mouth moves. People see it moving
from their cars. Another sight but not a
I did not come here today
to point at you / I came here to
offer resistance to every impulse to
wield speech like sharpened knife ready
for blood I want to swell not drain it
to resist these Peters enough with
your swords already the speech of this
hour is not your righteous proclamation
your self-righteous dedication to your
selves, your group, your flag, this
one is music it is receiving it is
the tongue that moves to open the
body, uncurling fingers first from
fists relaxing at the wrists, out
and out resist the urge to shield
again this heart I have only this
these arms, this wavering voice––
I see you
take a good look but then listen––
do you hear?
In the wake of the storm.
The world after the flood, in suspension. The weight of its waters. How to hold. How to. How. We ask until it breaks. Flutter of dove, the rush of your wings: now. Now. Now the weight of the long wait cracks against the break of this sun, light into mourning. The song of its reach a single note, like Come.
We would feel it at the edges of our breaths, something shining we imagined could launch us. Into some finitude and with open hands waiting at the end of the long tunnel at the top of the stairs after the last stop. But it wasn’t like that. When it came, we were still in the station, packed and––as we described ourselves so often, then––ready to go. Then, an announcement over the speakers in the lobby. But there is no world but this one. Where did we think? A voice demanded. We were going.
Siri how does it end and what happens.
To all these broken lights?
Why so many vessels, Siri, for some single
when all it wants is its wholeness
––We, I mean. All we. Want.
Siri doesn’t respond. Then one day
she asks, Is that your final answer?
Since when do you ask questions, Siri?
I’m sorry, she tells me. I don’t understand.
And the distance before us.
Phantom stagecoach and attendant mules
toward ghost town named after wash,
once stream. To pause by retired station
on full moon nights, backlit by what rises
from mountains, orbs of fire to augur gold
––or static of windblown quartz.
Eight-foot skeleton, lantern in ribcage
between Superstition Mountain and
the palms, lurching gait to search
before vanishing over ledge.
Ghost dancers at the well, trio
of death by thirst death
by drowning by greed.
This sense of something
shining as it disappears.
Hurry. But not as you once did.
Go as the sun arriving, rising
as sea foam up shoreline,
each into its pause.
How does the question of how a world ends find any answer except in its continuance? And how does anyone describe its substance except to note how something once familiar may at once become an entirely different thing. Backyard toolshed now an abattoir, hillside flower now fanged beast. The ground beneath the next step melts and we keep on posting notes to show we are either fine or having the sort of periodic collapse that indicates a belief in non-collapse as the default. It’s the rest that’s concerning, but anybody capable of noting this knows better than to mention it. O love, why do you leave us like this? I asked her and she said Yes.
where were we after
leaving forever sea
light flash to blind
stirring some end
we held breath
over steam keening
at the hollows of
throats at the caverns
between gut and lung
where voice roots
defiant of confines
dawn and not yet
dark we pooled longings
in throats to spend them
when night came
ready to say
keep the fire
wanting only to keep this skin
unburned for a little while
the last one yet to scar
to blend in with the rest
ready to welcome a long
rain with the imminence of
threat no longer in the foreground
even if of course always there
but yes, let us plan a return
to refraining here is peace
with no one asking whose
On occasion we would notice it was possible to feel nearer to the ancient untouchables of distant tongues, then know them out of reach. Was there a time when the myth did not begin with broken parts? We could not say, knowing only heroes against horizons, shells shattering into light then back to dust––but first, another genesis. And then, and then––
Head on bed of moss before battle. Song. Oceans rising into dream without rest, yet the eyes still lift. Up and out they go, flying off.
But it was possible to learn to wrap the long gaze tight in folds of worn cloth while folding what was freshly scorched from the machine, to bring them up again to sort among the boxes and all still left unsaid between unseen and seeing.