First published in
The Southern Review
reduce a perverse epiphany to yellowing, as when God
was sucked up into the madrigals fast. Do you drink
the Nova Scotia dusk? I’m sure there’s an appropriate word
for that in German. Bottle by bottle, I offer a dented doubloon
for your thoughts, a pitted cherry for this fishery of sin.
Out there, in that great relief of foamy green barbed wire,
a steamer ship steams and icebergs hiss amongst themselves
saying, Who will be the next to go? What can we take with us?
I say take it all, but let the Saints carry me home. Let the Saints cool
this errant radiator with a compress of tobacco leaf and tar paper.
Let them tell me that in the absence of fact, ritual is the sole redeemer
of faith. Let them minister to those of no better luck, of those too
bootblack to bleat for light, who break at dawn for a shilling’s
worth of black lung and a kettle calling them home.
Let the Saints move silent as rooks through cities stumbling
to life. Let them bless the buses that creep like penitent mastodons
past the marketplace, bless the windows dark as bituminous fists.
And then bless the sky. But for it the moon wouldn’t notice us at all.