Fragments of moths, the twilight chips and tatters
Of emptied conceptions of ourselves in relation
To a world that doesn’t fall into one of those categories.
A sampler, complete with numbers, houses, letters. Then
If it’s got sportsmen or ranchers, both of whom depend
Chiefly on moral implications in their work, it will
Be us—virtually three-dimensional, moving as life.
How many of you have ever wondered how certain
Feathers are set dancing, wings zigzagging, to show us
Years were a mirage, that there had been no years?
It was as if someone had held up a tiny bead
Of pure life. Though the blood and blubber from the killed
Game expresses man’s conviction that he can
And does master, which of you want to give your lives
And be men, and which to be women and dress like women?
Once through the chestnut tree
I saw a goldfinch fall.
We buried him, and for a month ate only vegetables.
We ran the trail and as we ran we grew;
it was so strange in the chains of youth,
not having exactly a way.
Above the smolder of the green pond
there were paths like places under water.
But why that vicarious lover,
ever faithful who had once seen us kiss.
He’d sit by the graves of our chameleons,
singing, though nothing like melody;
we’d hear him call, sweee-deees.
Since the day you saw him lie down on your shadow
and project it far ahead, you probably fell
only once into a sleep you understood,
and woke ashamed.
Do you still feel the agony of corridors,
or maybe you are walking with a lover
on a sagging wharf—what
are you doing?
For my part, it’s as if mercy had come
at the end of childhood,
since I had been standing there waiting.