A THOUSAND YEARS FROM NOW
A thousand years from now
who will remember me
once I’ve disappeared from this windowpane,
a vapour of breath with awareness,
a nebular stain on the clarity
that will wash its hands of me
like a scar of water that has clung too long?
I’m not trying to embalm
the elegiac content of these obvious sunsets in words,
and it’s hard to shake honey out of these mordant bells
that lie like duplicitous lifeboats to the gullible compasses and maps
that keep crashing like doves that don’t have the wingspan
to come back with news of land
to this museum of DNA, two of every kind,
I keep scuttling like an ark on the top of every wave.
And what is a grave if not an abandoned embassy
that didn’t have time to shred its dreaded secret?
And sometimes, when the emptiness and the silence
are beyond bearing,
I hold myself up like a passport at the panicked gates
that have made me an exile and a wounded threshold in my own home
and clamour like a continent
to be repatriated anywhere
that isn’t a country whose borders are stretched out like refugee lines.
But it’s a foolish wish.
And if there’s a dragon to slay,
I realize it’s only more shadows and swordplay,
and I think of the return of the rain lifted from the sea
and how the sea never feels anything is missing,
and everything is passage without arrival or departure
and how the arrow never leaves the hand of a good archer.
It’s human nature to understand,
a sacred mode of disobedience
to look into the eyes of our worst fears
even if it’s just to flare like a star without rescue
and scream out in light a moment against its own extinction.
But who or what or nothing is ever there to listen
as we go out like flies and stars in a toilet bowl?
And a love of laws is not the law of love
and there have been so many dragons
left out of the chrysales of their questions like answers
that the heart is not sustained by the impersonal blessing
of ubiquitous entropy in a long, lab coat
as the spirit longs for transformations
a star and a night beyond itself
that might astonish a human
with something enduringly human
like a next breath that can’t be smudged by death
or something drastic in the dust that remembers us
when we were stars
that thawed through the windowpane
as if we were looking through the lenses of our own eyes
to discover everything we live is how we die
and we’re always a plight and a plea away from knowing why.
Imagine, one night, looking up at the sky
and there were no death to raise the moon
like a calendar above your neck,
and everything you saw around you,
crows, kites, keys,
last year’s pine cones on this year’s trees,
were not denuded of their mystic specificity
in this mortal profusion of origins
that ends where it begins. Imagine,
one morning, not getting up from the dream
to pan the mindstream for the nugget of a skull
that might be gold, and the luster of the radiance
never grows old like the taste of the moon in your mouth.
Wouldn’t this onceness then be eternal,
and what I’m saying now, indelible
as the space that prompts the stars to shine?
Learning wisdom is learning the universe
as if it were your own face, on the inside,
and you were its only eyes,
disappearing from view so that all that remains is you.
Birth, a breathing in; death, a breathing out,
before the first and after the last, this pulse and suspiration,
muses around the wellspring, witches around the cauldron,
planets fluttering like moths
at the windows of the constellations. Like the moon
I pass my hand over like an eclipse as if it were my own skull,
I have been creatively maintained from the start by my own expiration.
Are there no orchards in the hearts of old women?
Are there no graves in the eyes of a child?