One of my friends is getting married in Vegas.
He and his fiancee finds those electric lights, drive-in
chapels and heart-shaped beds attractive. Irony’s
attractive. Elsewhere, Joan’s in a solitary cabin
overlooking the frozen lake, with her barking dog
dozing next to her, her drunken parents ringing her up
to remind her of insufficiency. Across the state line,
someone else is bringing soup to his mother,
a broth with rosemary sprigs, lentils and potatoes,
to take her through her cancer. Whereas in our meadow,
the first fox of spring—correcting a sentence—has crossed over,
spying a killdeer, one of God’s most idiotic creatures,
who rolls over, perfect prey, and spreads his wings in danger.
A bird whose legs are so spindly he belongs to the surf
and not the birch grove. My cat chirps when her eggs begin to
Music’s attractive. But when I’m listening to Bruckner,
I don’t want to sit back and listen to all the false endings,
the dramatic build-up of the horns about to pounce.
I don’t want to get on my knees and apologize
for every bowl of gruel. This is no allegory
for Bosnia or tornadoes that tear the roofs off trailers.
I have enough small worries to fill an office. I’m no
Orpheus, no St. Francis, no petty despot who can dictate
who should live with whom, who should die happy.
On the other hand my blood’s the same Sienna shade
as theirs, I’m not yet meadow dirt, knee-deep in fate.
Those fox jaws are foaming. Reddish brown, he should be
someone’s dog to pet. He should chew on grass and stroll
the filthy streets of Madras. He should be listening to
the cello’s crescendo burning light. He should lie down
in his fluffy coat with the baby Jesus, and teach us how to live.