Sunday, April 10, 2005



for Alison Stine

Forgive me if this ordered oracle is not

so oracular. Times are hard, we tell

each mirror in which our face swims

up like a haunted koi. Time is harder

and even the ache of our bones

is apostate. And here we wait,

burning up time. This way, we’ll learn nothing.

I will not be able tell you how

to miss the implosion of traffic

on your way to the park, to the pond

where ducks gorge on rinds of bread

because it’s spring, because

the seasonal lunacy is upon us like a light.

Isn’t the moon, somewhere,

in the glowing honeycombs

of that word, lunacy, present, tidal?

Leave the dictionary to be

denizen of dust. We’ll ask the oracle every origin.

But you wanted endings. An end,

a tidiness in the littered wake

of your life. I wait with you

and just these words, from which a child

might make solemn guesses.

In the end, none of us will live to see

that jellyfish are sentient,

their liquid selves rippling with saline algebra.

And Bigfoot will not come down,

at last, from the ancient bowers

of the poorly photographed,

asking for a bath, a shave, a steady job,

worth in our world beyond

stupid myth. And for this I’m glad

like a child. Like a flower

before the storm of a bee’s blurred wings.

I’m glad to live in darkness

for part of my days. Once

I loved a woman who would not undress

except in the dark, except

in the shadows of her comfort,

and so I was glad to see the sun pass away

or her hand upon the light

switch. But even this came to its end.

No one was surprised

but me. To have had your oracle then!

It would have saved me

from a different darkness,

in which my skin touched only the air.

But then each switch

for me would mean nothing

and dusk bereft

of her shyness would be

only the hour of the cricket’s sad song.

I would not know what to miss.


Ali Davis said...

Oh my gosh, thank you! Paul, it's absolutely lovely. Expect a love letter soon (well, not soon because I take forever, but expect none the less). Your poem makes it all better, today, yesterday, the chill, the coast...

Paul said...

My pleasure. I saw you offering the love letters and thought, who will write you one? It's your post, though, at Laurel's blog that started me off.

Glad you like.