Sunday, July 22, 2007

Like the first morning . . .

On The Way Back From the Bathroom

Outside, the moon descends
along rails constructed
in such a way that first
it rolls left across the sky
in a steady declension of four degrees.

At its western end it drops,
reverses its route, rolls right
and downward again. It will
continue this way all night,
along an alternating
and constant slope,
and I watch it crossing back and forth,
dropping down,
over and over,
from the open window
where I have stopped on my way back from the bathroom.

I wonder if this is magnificent.

In the mean time, the shelves along the wall remain filled with things I’d hoped to get to but never did. To learn Italian. To speak French. And while there is some regret about those things I never took up, I must tell you that I did once make the time to share a drink with a wooly white mammoth in an Andover train station.

Until then I’d not realized
how precisely
a white wooly mammoth might
press rings of smoke from a droopy bottom lip,
even while steadying a rather thin tortoise-shell
cigarette holder in a hoof,
a bent crumble of cool ash dangling at its tip.

He did not seem to mind that I stared,
morbidly, into the disproportionately
large, unpigmented eye jellying behind
the monocle he wore, its cord attached
somewhere inside his thick and flowing mane.

This event occurred, actually, during a particularly monotonous cross-country tour Myrtle and I purchased when we were first married.

“Clink.” The moon drops
down onto the next silver rail
and the clock across the room blinks,
“Go Slowly Along Your Way.”

Beneath the red rise of mercury
I spot a woman in the field
adjacent to our own.
She is playing a tuba
and I smell blueberry muffins in the air.
The sky rumbles with tuba: blurts Tuba Tuba Tuba.
I shut the window and draw the curtain before moving back to bed.

As I pass, books whisper to me in languages I do not understand
and the bronze Shiva occupying the top shelf begins dancing,
arms wriggling and alive like snakes.

“Stop shuffling your feet,” Myrtle croaks at me. I peel back the blanket, slide in next to her, cradle her gently in my arms. Her booty is pudgy and warm. “I love you like a blueberry muffin,” I say. I whisper the words in Italian. I repeat her name, so fluidly, in French—“Myrtille.”

It occurs to me that this is magnificent.

This is so even when Myrtle says nothing in response.
It remains the case even after we forget each other and fall asleep,
lulled by the cadences of the mammoth moon as it drops and rolls,
all night long, through the tuba-blueberry sky, white clouds
wound like wool around the narrowing encroachments of
another morning’s gray approach.

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