Issue 111, Summer 1989
A day too large for the summer, standing up
out of the bus lanes, puzzled on its face
like the miniaturist who becomes famous
in the corner of his garage and rises up
out of scraps and dolls’ heads into loneliness
too big for his heart or for his fingers’ ends.
Today is like that. Today I was discharged
from hospital with only a slight illness
and all the undirected passion of illness,
a poor still-life aspiring to the dark edge
and depth of landscape. Today is too large,
and my heart shrinks at the center of it.
On the wards, fact and truth wear the same gowns,
receive the same treatment at arm’s length.
But outside, beyond the ziggurats and shallow
climates of the medical city, you
must tell them apart. You need to know
that one is the civil traffic of the hour,
the life and outwardness of the bus lanes,
and that the other is the nearly immobile
victim of each day and in particular
of the large days whose treetops and hidden
parklands spread across the city and sky
until you need no heart and your heart dies.
Everyone, at a moment of good health,
finds a razor shadow of perfect celebration
between flower and leaf
between the sunlit facts
and truth’s coronal grief
over the huge, sure end of celebration
in the next moment. That is the fun of health,