Misericordia; Sentimental Education; The Vision
The longlife milk outlived the vegetables,
that rooted life beneath life,
the shadow of death or what comes after.
God the pornographer, God the child molester—
what would suit omniscience? The misery
of knowledge cuts like a blunt knife.
I can identify two or three weeds
in the overgrown garden, no flowers
but the hydrocephalic peonies,
by the labors of beauty. The local theologies
rise on the steamy mists of summer,
hazy blues eating them like acid.
Your ruined, bee-stung lips haunt me
half a century later—still, the moment was lost.
Two divorces later, a child in the wake,
at the fortieth reunion
would-be suitors tried to recall your name.
Did gossip stop that summer afternoon,
the women on the beach shut up their purses?
Small children lost their taste for silver spoons,
and dogs on leashes barked out silver curses.
How often afterward, late in November,
the old recalled the sky when all had changed.
The vision proved so easy to misremember,
like a badly painted portrait, rearranged.
No one could say that life was one bit better.
Many still wondered what the world had lost.
The nights were no less bleak, the storms no wetter,
but even Paradise must have a cost.