Death and Transfiguration in the Wings
arrives in stages. In this dream it bears his face,
the mouth singing that nameless old melody.
I wonder if it’s Orpheus again, if this time
he’ll trust and wait longer.
Molecular notes from a head with no body—
this man, I once knew exactly, wears the mask
Study his lips, a voice says, this sort of detachment can
break anything to pieces.
The audience, motionless, lets their faces drop.
Night-bird cries from years away—
whippoorwill. Farmhouse on a slope where for a summer
it flew near our bedroom window.
Then there’s a jerk to stage-right where I’m in the spotlight
and naked this time on a toilet—the kind with armrests
and wheels you die beside in a soiled bed.
So, it’s me on display
before the remains of my audience. Audience with the queen, I ask,
and they sigh, what a shame. I shut my eyes to go blind—secret
cove where no one ever finds me.
And late the next day, I am transfixed in real traffic, Alpine
waltz dropping from an attic window. A boy yells, hey lady, don’t
wait for your friend in the middle of the street. Three-quarter-time
is the mystery of a world unaccompanied.