my mother who died after being
mercilessly kept alive
by machines at the hospital
looked at the photo of my fiancée
and said, “As long as you’re happy . . .”
as if it were the final measure of my reach.
The star through which I shot
my young heart has little value now
except as an occasional reference point,
a piece of cosmic punctuation
some third-rate planet may depend on
What I thought was an ethical problem
of existence was just a broken heart.
The woman for whom I have ransomed
my wife and children would like to erase
the past. I would like to gather them all,
please, under one roof, one heart.
About my mother . . .
each day the doctors and machines
told us her chances of living
with one more operation
on her overburdened heart
would probably be better.
I thought of reading the Bible then.
It wasn’t a question of being happy.