Sometimes I enter the small chambers of the God of Forgetting
and take my place at his feet
and bow my head.
And I say into the ground that bears both of us:
I need you—now.
You have listened to the supplications
of tyrants and dictators
—in my lifetime alone, countless wishes.
But there is already a country renamed for its suffering,
and an altar upon which
the innocent secretly
undo the knots
with their teeth.
All I have to offer is rotting carrots
and a basil plant
dying in its water.
I used to eavesdrop on the priests who moonlight as assassins
to make sure my name
was not in their diaries.
How many people have come outside
from their desperate invocations
to see the wonder for themselves? Is it true?
Are the juncos
in the dogwoods?
Have the dancers removed their right shoes?
Are they hopping around
on both hands?
Yes, it is true. We are closing our eyes. To forecast death
we gather with strangers,
like this one woman
in the mustard coat
sitting on a park bench.
Her son has opened a small blue box stuffed with peanuts
and he pours them into her one cupped hand
so a few fall
for the sparrows
and all the while
the chainsaw is singing to each of us: STAY! STAY AS LONG AS YOU LIKE!
NO ONE CAN KEEP YOU!
and the boy—I told you—
is trying to fly.
He first lifts one wing, then lets both go. Now
watch the little one
leading his enormous dragon made of water and light
by its silver leash. See
the long liquid flock of muscle
in the child’s fist.