The Day Comes

The day comes, it seems, when
The mystery of our coming and our going
That has hovered over these late years
Begins to fade into one or another
Unsettled cliché about man and the gods
Or man on his own trying to fathom
What man or woman can never
Be wise enough to understand
With more than human certainty,
Whether their bland beginning
Or their opaque end, let alone
The generous space in between.
The godly say solace is there
Variously, comforting, perhaps obscure,
But the surest route for those of us
With little more than our dying hope
That mystery has its limitations
Is to gather the best from what remains
Unsentimental but felt, manifest,
To weave through the life we’ve known
With the right memory for interference
And find those images worth reliving:
A difficult father finally holding
One of his infant sons sky-high,
As though a golf trophy,
A bridge expert gourmet mother
Stepping back from her hot stove
To let her narcissistic daughter
Demonstrate how a grandmother sucks eggs,
And those images that go beyond wit
Or need for some saving irony
As honest first love in its failure
Almost lost to another more haunting
And yes, another, so surely there’s no
Consolation when the day finally comes,
Just the pain and gratitude.