My wife and I put in a new bathroom
built of stone slabs, tree’d boxes, plumbed by hand,
planned and perfected with money more than
most — a planet where buckets still straddle
far too many shoulders back and forth from
a levered well, while my hot water pulls
shale from sand, and clean bowls fill a fetid
seidel running over. I’m not guilty
but I’m puzzled like a beaming child slapped
on the face for the first time by a hand
that only held love. What unwritten rule
of all kind requires two worlds? Why always
two worlds; in each book, house, and head, every
forest and mountain ledge? We might trample
each other in mindless splendor, or spend
our days hairless, sweeping the path with…
The sun covers my fingers this morning,
this year that becomes another.
I’m asking how to join with it, how cold
air from the north mixes with a southern
front and shapes a billowing sky.
This year has no hand to grasp, no rope
to braid. It’s a simple oil bronze lock
opened by blade and bow. This year
is an invitation to notice. To not judge.
To friend, and be friended.
Sometimes we dance with dozens,
scuffing shoes on the floor of the palace,
dipping low in the dark, stealing kisses,
but this year it’s just us inside, a cold cup,
a frosted railing, a tapestry of solo…
When you reincarnate wet and ready,
it is told that everyone in your life
plays a different but equally sized role
time and time again. The strangers
you meet for an instant, remain
similarly instantaneous in all your lives.
Every second is accounted for,
life after life an exact ledger,
a repetitive universe of GAP rules
scripted with a feather pen and permanent.
Who was your mother last time?
Was your grandfather a child with a clock
wound in reverse? And maybe
those people on the bus are always
the people on the bus, the train, a ferry,
or a weekday sidewalk army of glances.
It scares us so much, we think up some
pretty crazy things to scare ourselves. …
It finally took trespassing hands
and broken glass, crying flags, and smoke,
not cigars, but canisters for war.
The paintings and statues only watch
with side-eyes. Would they be cut, painted
with a shade of flat black, forced to walk
in our full streets of loud sedition
off wire hanger and naked plinth?
Out on the lawn, a hot dog vendor,
stuffing pink feed into maskless mouth,
selling comfort for a weak tribe where
craving is too much for the toxic.
Later, in a white hotel lobby,
left alone, unshackled, they clatter
beer glasses and flag poles, wrapped in red,
sealed in the stone of lies and more…