Sometimes a White Veil
The hours are singing the singing hours.
Maybe a wolf. Maybe a hundred carnations.
Maybe the room is white, the furniture white,
the rain singing the singing rain down.
Maybe it’s just a small cough. Maybe
the water comes out brown with a smell
and the young couple have to leave the house
then each other. The whole splashing sideshow
or umbrella lost, the parted and reunited,
flood warning, the king of his deathbed
knowing his son is a blockhead and
the bishops murderous thieves
in the story the boy reads unable to sleep.
And the berries hidden in thorns,
and the lock with its key broken,
the heart that opens, the life
that falls apart. Maybe a scarf.
Maybe you’ll get that week alone at the beach,
nothing required. Maybe the pills will work,
your Aunt in France sell her novel.
Maybe you won’t be crushed.
Maybe a parakeet, maybe a dove.
Plastic chair, do you remember
the last Armageddon, how the gods fought
with hammers and poisoned sandwiches?
Puddle, are you too an electric lamp
with a tiny Cesar Vallejo for a filament?
I still have your ghost story in my forsythia.
Memoir, you have blown down the street
and now what – could you be any more victorious?
I hope to continue in this trust-worthy mode
to the great taciturnity of the cement angels
composing the cemetery gateway.
Baby Mira, it’s hard to get anything
to answer back. By the time you want
to drive yourself to the gas station,
all the fossil fuels will be gone.
You will have to squeeze twigs and flowers.
Already you smell like basil. The future
is easy to imagine once you're managed
to imagine there is one. Look at all
those objects persisting through time,
some without obviously bleeding to death,
others bartering with worms for immortality.
I'm just going to sit here while you sell
holding this ice cube close to my heart
as long as I can. It calls me its puppet,
its pyro, its own.
[Dean Young's recent publications include Embryoyo (2007), Primitive Mentor (2008, shortlisted for the 2009 Griffin Prize), and The Art of Recklessness (2010). He is the William Livingstone Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas, Austin]
Copyright © 2010
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