Fingers and teeth at the refectory table. Since dawn
the roil of it, one body and one body’s hunger, multiplied, carried,
and the old paintings on the walls, always those
gardens of blame: your honor, your worship, it was her.
She is the art and the aftermath. And you swear
even the trees are exhausted by it, why else are they dying,
why else do the words, rich woman, ring like metal clanging?
She who has power over you. . . .
It is a dark morning now. As if a tablecloth covered the sun,
as if the clouds were contempt only, blotching the light,
as if it didn’t happen that by the billions the mother
holds her child’s hand as he tells some particle of his day to her
and she listens while also (silently) singing a song that goes,
little-nape-of-the-neck, dearest-little-wide-brow, and is exultant,
exultant. . . .
The loaves are baked. Brown leaves and gold leaves fall to the grass.