May God bless and keep the last man
struggling with galoshes, which means
French shoes in Old French and who knew
the French had ever been fond
of their feet sheathed in onomatopoeic
footwear or that their tongues
had in the dead past divagated and dithered
whole ages and dialects and Europes
away. The thought is enough
to wave away the generic sorrow of rain
and set fire to the umbrellas
of passing strangers and be soaked past bone’s last cell.
A good thought, made of sadness
easily found in the body, residue
of one disaster or another—
sex collapsed like an old shed
and weariness plead
and tomorrow night maybe
and pulmonary half-apologies caught in the mouth
of sleep. Her gone in time
or you gone, your eyes gone,
your feet on an endless carpet of old razors.
Something lost somewhere
inside you, untraceable, sinking,
and even at her heart’s request
you’d never pluck a single shining coin
from behind her ear, the warm shell of all her sound,
in which you heard the ocean
rolling away in bracing violence.
In which more of you began to sink and be lost.
In which and in which
and this was enough
to put your lips to the door and not know why.
Not really. Not while rain
held its court in the world
and even in the noon darkness
the day gleamed with water on its face.
To think of her was easy.
Her swimmer’s legs entering her jeans like water,
her arms learning help
you needed and help you could give
and all you couldn’t,
her hands combing her bed from your hair.