Issue 126, Spring 1993
The Christological Year
on my birthday
The record skips in the parlor
when the gurney wheels past.
Mother’s on her way to maternity.
On the 16th green Father’s putt misses its cup,
his Japanese caddy tuning the instrument
of his mind Buddha-fashion in the grass.
A cosmographer’s blue Pacific sea
illuminates the horizon.
West is faraway as sentimental honeymoon years
wavering in a crater of Nevada sunlight.
I am nowhere and everywhere.
A vague shape in a blue peignoir
(could it have been a kimono?)
holds me in its arms.
A sleep-inducing sickness takes me from myself.
Dust on the shelf where figures once stood
maps a world that will meet in me:
Father’s walky-talky voice from the Arctic;
Venus’s-flytrap locking its teeth
on Mother’s diamond ring;
wigwams pitched in the Shenandoah;
my saucy angelfish, who ate his wife,
and my old-world chameleon,
whose stomach for houseflies was prodigious;
a six-ton black-and-white orca, midair,
his flippers grasped by a trainer
straddling him bareback;
the child’s psychopathology
57 of lying to keep adulthood at bay;
the Caspian and Black seas sweeping Noah and me away;