Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lime Green

It is a bleak winter night, moonless, starless, fog engulfed, 
an all embracing darkness
except the building my mother has just died in
holds fast to its lime green stain and every window 
clasps a yoke of yellow light. 
The bag they bring is black, a bleak gray scar 
runs down it. My mother, packed up like a suit.
It lifts my feet from the ground, the hair off my skin.
And then the zipper hums up the track, up, up
to her half-open eyes, her slack jaw already 
packed, then a click and a buzz and the suit’s ready
to go, to go where? 
Onto a gurney clattering to the back of a van  
waiting on the asphalt where I watch like a tree 
with its bark burned off. 
Beyond the door, a chamber of a deeper black 
than the one outside. 
This is my most unforgettable night, 
the most howling of all nights. 
Not knowing what comes next, 
no God to turn to.
My mother hurtles through the blackness
of infinity. 


Every day sees more evidence against immortality. 
That we are no different from elephants, returning again
and again, like they, to the bodies of our dead friends, 
to a dead baby's bones. 
Love and devotion do not stand us apart.
The same engines drive our hairy legs to water and meadows, 
over boundaries, for food, for drink, for arousal, 
for battles between strong and stronger. 
But what elephant would leave this message I saw today 
inscribed on a wooden bench over San Leandro Bay?
See you in paradise, Martin. 
And what elephant would return home to write about it?
and then think all night of great glimmering galaxies?