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Monday, May 2, 2011

I Wonder Why There Are People


There is a litany of the names of the saints,
Where we are unable to recall
The names of the saints.
Time after time we
Guess at them. None of them
Seem to work
Again and again we say
Names. They are always wrong.
They are, instead, the names of friends,
Of relatives, some long departed, others
Half-remembered. Their names roll
Off the tongue, easy as the phrase “pray for us.”

Like coming downstairs in the morning and
Asking if the coffee is ready yet. A simple request only.
The saints gather in the corners of the house.
Their voices full of praise, the names of all
The angels upon their lips, as if angels had memory.

Over and over again, we say these
The days pass.
We grow older.
We change our appearance
Time and time again.
Finally, no one recognizes us
Any longer.
We reside in photographs.
Our children say our names
A few more times.
We know what the saints know, implicitly.


The stars are in a hurry. The sky winds
Around them and tells the moon a slick
Story about how they used to have to explain
Themselves every morning when the night
Folded itself like a handkerchief and went back
To waiting, white ships struggling at anchor
In a dream.

While we are not terribly thirsty, the water
From the well tasted refreshing, reminding us
Of a lovely room just off the kitchen in a quiet
Cottage, near the edge of a small river, cookies
Were baking in the next room. We watched
The stars. It wasn’t an easy moment.
Nothing was make-believe. It may have been
beautiful but it had teeth that could bring a horse
To the ground had it wanted to.

There was obviously too much to lose here.
Night was arranging its shiny coat again. Leaves
Looked for directions from the wind. The moment
Was not our own, nor was it that of the stars.

This will come to you in dreams. It will seem
So real. You will be able to put on your glasses
And it will still seem real, a massive room of stone
Filled with the world flickering like bats leaving a cave.
We will want to go back. We will want a good bed.
We will want to see our loved ones again.

Let us change our clothes and wash the blood
From our hands, listen to the sleepy sound
The trains make at the far side of the landscape.
Perhaps they will not see us here. Pretend you
Are sleeping. A gentle breeze stirring the leaves.
The wide sweep of the heavens. It is so strange
And wonderful to be alive. Why does no one come here?

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