Sunday, January 24, 2010

369. Ariel

Being dead doesn't bother me, it's the dying part,
she said of a sudden straight from her heart
and I replied all free and easy,
light, ironic, breezy,
Darling, should I help you along?

'S'alright, love, I can manage myself,
I can perch, resigned, at the back of the shelf
and care for the children, let you go your way,
let you fuck all your squirming little tarts.
I frowned. There was little I could say.

On a bone-cold freezing winter day
she placed milk and biscuits on a tray,
brought them to the kids in the room above;
and without a word of reproach, nor even of love,
she placed a cloth in the oven and her head upon it

and died.

I have tried, tried so many many times
to discover some sense of meaning
in this careful act of cold finality:

Did she hate me? or was she a lone fatality
of a self-scourging sense of futility,
seeking recompense, hovering, leaning
over the blank utility of the grave?

I have lived since then, huddled down in the nave
of a shattered cathedral, her own and mine,
and nothing I have written, however fine,
can recover any lightness in my soul.

Even my innocent children survive on a dole
of pained and measured kindness. Her poems,
published and praised, still carry a sting
that assails me now, waking and sleeping.

Even as I ignore amazonic american hordes
who excavate this incident, this ... this thing,
women who hold me strenuously to account:
at the fount of non-knowledge, there is only weeping.