AFTER THE CRASH, THE OLD FOOL DOES LAUNDRY
We’ve only to live it through, gracefully, I trust,
accepting these wintry mishaps for what they are.
The blouse blown against the fence is not a curse on us,
although it irritates us just as though it were.
And if you find me odd, and old, and even, therefore,
faintly disgusting, I find you callow, difficult to bear.
We are less indestructible than we at first appeared.
I belong to my desk and my disheveled floors,
to this droll celibacy, to the task of living alone here,
though not utterly chosen, nor altogether enforced,
more than I belong to you, who have come to my voice
as lover and nightmare, and who will be taken away,
not thank God by car crash, but daily as I make
my bed, sheets rinsed of event, and of memory.
TO BREAK IT TO FIND IT AGAIN
Not always, but always. Including death-arousing noise:
jerk and robot–both the no and the yes.
Oddly new, newly old: to find the flirt in us.
If poodle can prance, can prong, if squirrel,
if ocean’s brilliant foam is thin enough to breathe.
Wise animal music pumped out in pups, kits, chicks, drips.
If turtle hatchlings blunder, magnets for the salt sea.
If we are lost, far from the breast. Too far up. Away far down.
And then trees, giants, and also the tiny wild blooms.
She opens her eyes. In her water we see us: vulvaed creatures
by the ocean that are the ocean. They taste of her. Tits and pips,
mountainous crusts and secretions. Birthing eyes of the divine.
If we wash away, if we melt, if we are clumsy and hilarious.
Splayed feet, we quack. If we are a parade of elephants
linked trunk to tail. If we are continents balanced on a ball.
If we are clapping, sucking in our next first breath.
TO THE LIZARD GOD
God of damnation, lizard god eaten alive each day by the cat
and your guts ground into the carpet, or flung, O god
of abandonment, into a corner, god of stench, god of retribution,
warm and soft in my paper napkin, tossed in the wastebasket,
carried out with crumbs and paint flakes, fruit skins
and onion husks, nail parings and hair fished from drains,
with crushed bugs and blooded, swatted, stinging things,
O god that gives and takes away, forget me in your pain,
turn your face from me in your suffering,
close your eyes upon me in the furnace of midday
as you begin to rot, or in the tepid rain.
When ants deliver your flesh to their queen, when your acids
leak into dirt, when your frail bones fall into calcium
and enter the clear blood of plants, when you are sipped
at last to the top of the tree, think of me, O infant,
when the brown moth alights on you and you give thanks,
O god of the one everlasting touch, O breath, remember me.