After your death, I google the mourning
practices of long-gone bipeds, thinking
there are lessons to learn from bone,
thinking I could love the world,
if only I knew the world. (I find caves
covered in red ocher handprints.
Canopic jars of intestine & gold.)
The doctor diagnoses it as ecological grief,
the tears I shed over the extinction
of the mountain mist frog (invasive fungus,
habitat loss) & I suddenly feel like a wasp
ambushed by a cup. On the drive home,
I count the glowing eyes of the racoons
living inside the abandoned Pizza Hut.
Life fitness. Ghost pepper. I think
I get the gist. We are inside our bodies
like bears in a blizzard. We are inside
these nostrils, these ribcages, propped
up by these faulty spinal cords,
forever living in a fourth floor rental
at the intersection of Reservoir & Grape.
Some Neanderthals were buried
on beds of kaleidoscopic flowers.
The most stunning conflagration
of colors I’ve ever seen were the whirling
pinwheels of rainbow on the surface
of the Gowanus Canal. It shocks me,
the glamor I’ll ascribe to any ruined thing.
The doctor says he wonders if the world
wished it saw us coming. (We think highly
of them, these abstract thoughts let loose
from the mind.) Tomorrow, I will go look
at twenty paintings of a single door.
I hope they will rivet me. I hope tomorrow
will be the tomorrow to end all tomorrows.
Today, the geese are flickering on & off
across the sky. The planet occurs to me
like an idea. Sure, I’ve heard grief
compared to the sea, a panther,
the tundra, but never likened
to this kind of weather. (Thirty-second
sun-shower. Daymoon that just won’t let go.)
Here’s what I know about the world.
When my sister lifts her boots from
the stirrups & spurs the soft hide
of her horse, the horse, startled
& surprised, trots faster, picking up
its pace, trying to outrun what is still
clinging to its back.