blackbirdonline journalSpring 2010  Vol. 9  No. 1
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We are now accepting apologies
for the universe’s indignities:
spitting stars, solar burnout,
the cosmic purgatory of hanging
from a fence by your underwear,
for gaseous ruptures, vortexes of nothing,
and certainly for the nothingness.
Could it have been more plain?
Frozen pupils, battered moons.
Weren’t we paying attention?
Even here, what is more worrisome
than the silence of an imploded
mountain, the meteor-pocked face
of a desert, the past coming back?
One moment you’re tending sheep
with an old Navajo woman, asking
for the Diné word for shape-shifter;
the next Crazy Harry’s gyrating
in the school yard as we bang
on downspouts in a downpour.
What were the heavens doing
before we lifted Harry and labored
to nail him with lunch-box fruit?
Did they inch a finger, did they
sleep as he wedged? Milky oval,
cry Uncle! Say you’re sorry
for leaving him with a soap dish
of Brillo pads and lemon juice.
Sorry for the ever-wanting
and scrub brush turning to flame,
for the teeth grinding and drip
like coal slag down our throats.
We’ll take them now: your volcanic spew,
salts and celestial bruises,
weary queries, notes, as Celan says,
and the bottles on the seas
swept up with schools of tuna.
What did we say: If you find this,
write back. If you are reading this,
you’re too close. My name is . . .
We’ll take them like slugs to beer,
everything we ever wished for
wrapped in sleeping bags, pupa, coma,
as the stars in their death march
move across the sky silent
as coyotes passing in the dark.  end

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