The Accounts
Listen: The Accounts (23:20)
The nest was at rest for a time, not being
made. Before the eggs were laid, it softened.
The robin sleeping. Inside the house,
the sound of laundry
in the dryer, the sound of a zipper
tumbling inside
the apparatus, and shirts with buttons,
as well as napkins
and a tablecloth printed with blueberries
and stalks of lily of the valley, oval,
for the table with claw legs
and extra leaves for guests.
In one account, the angels come, their hands
emerging from their wings like sentences
staying, as long as it takes,
for the windows to go from indigo
to black, as long
as it takes for a breath to land in the base
of the belly, in the cavity
wisdom tells us wisdom comes from
or first dwells in, before it navigates
the narrows of the throat, becomes mantra,
becomes guttural, becomes spit to aspirate
the language the mouth makes.
The native obligation of this account
to its subject is care. The form
of music the wind chime makes
registers the commitment
of a furious system, filled with
conviction, to the continued
transformation of what
is. Do not ask what has been
lost. Ask what changed. An instrument
of will, the guitar echoes this, a chord,
more reminder than absolute, the hand
arouses but does not create the scale,
In this way what rests gets taken up.
In another, the mind makes a decision
to end its disorder. The mind wants first
to end the face. The subject
has had enough, one too many
figures walking through the orchard, the call
and response of conversation
become an imposition on some world of light
unbroken by the idea of different bodies,
an idea one has never been convinced of,
and so now it is a relief to believe
what one has suspected, that separation
is a trick of perspective, though such a revelation
does not undo the fatigue of existing
in the continuing illusions of others. And yet, the obligation
to be kind, to show interest in strangers
when they visit with flowers, to family
whose hands are empty, and to doctors,
not to mention the pain.
In the last account, the explosions
are too small to be seen, and oxygen
takes both thirst and hunger away
as it ceases to find a home in the lungs,
and the patient, having ceased to feel, ceases
to breathe, as the heart shuts down
before the brain and shuts
the dreaming down, the settling on a nest
of images, not feeling any form of distress.
The pathways to distress are blocked,
but the senses doubled, the ears know
the house more than they ever did,
whose clothes occupy the dryer,
which voice accompanies water.
Angels be patient with this subject.
I know what she would say to you
if she could speak,
if she could see
you just inside the window whose top right
pane frames what we call a family,
when the almost mother bird
finishes what she is thinking about,
barely but still hidden from sight.
If you stopped to look at the nest
you would see a sleep so purposeful
the ladder of adoration would reverse
and you would stay on earth.
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