Easy in a college town to hang Klimt
from your many times repaired wall
or life and easy to think this better,
somehow, than violence or routine
or the kaleidoscopic degradations each waitress
in her kindness prepares
for you. Lord, a long time
I have thought of what more there is
to say. Lord, I have thought
this. Sometimes committed my flesh
to unbearable action
if only to gain speed in retreat.
If only to wake in the dark strangeness
of agreements: falsehoods
and broken words and spasms
of summer. And now a loveliness passes
and it does not matter
of what it is made or when
or living and named and nightly possessed.
Lord, it does not matter
that any of us keep on
but we do. In great numbers,
in harrowing efficiencies,
we cannot do anything but this
persistence that will not go.
I am trying, Lord, to love this world,
however it is fated
to end. Behind the wall a girl
is making love.
Two rooms distant I can hear her
and want to leave
even through the spill of rain.
But I stay because
there is nothing to leave
my mind will not carry with it
in a kind of tortured attentiveness.
I know her name
if only by her business card
given to me like I would have a use for it.
Like I had waited there
for her name. Not
all my life but a devoted time.
What else but her name and her nerves unspooling now
could I wait for? Besides
silence. Or mercy.
Or deafening rain. Her sign to now, now,
Lord, be still.