Where, Ms. Bishop, should the boy and I be today?
All precedent’s out of the question, the question
out of something like itself but lacking answer.
What we have here’s here as if it starts at the skin—
a siren’s cruel looping, a new phrase in mid-use;
saved message: his sister’s wild crooning to her doll.
Save for the getting home, our travels are over,
so we’re putting it all back in our bags with talk
of birds above water in a sketch by Turner,
an imaginary church interior filled
with virtue’s matchless purple, and a battlefield
of late-July grass, unvisited and ochre.
Elsewhere this dry summer, tight flowers in the dust,
I lost myself to river, cellar, debt, self, sea.
I did a thing that comforts when it’s done too much,
because life’s loneliness, a fact all people know
and none—whether of brain of youth or brain of age—
can understand as well as color-killing sun.
The technical in shreds, a Doberman saunters
toward its owner’s open hand, and there we have it—
all that happens by a seed’s end, a Saturday—
and maybe soon we’ll feel what time is, images
going and coming in a place of such ashes,
where cities and waters get named for one another.
The conquered moon still pales alone, and soon enough
knit hats will morph our shadows into minarets,
while some secretless mystery gags the whole of space.
Mostly, though, that falters, and people stride freely,
the snow on a few of them branded as grace,
the rain on others thought of only as unlucky.