The first ending. And knowing it would end
I wanted another. Lover, summer,
pen with which to write it all down.
The first disappointment. Which is not
remembered but lives in the body.
And how familiar it became. To take
the same walk home or lean over ledges,
to say my own name when meeting someone.
Again and again for the last time:
the taste of salt in the afternoon.
Flowers for no one—alive and sold on the street.
What did I think was promised in being?
The way a stranger can finish you off.
Once only. And never the same
after that. After knowledge.
How people are being detained
and shot with our money.
All of which cannot prepare us for death
of which I am a student
and which is this country’s business:
the permanence of others.
Even our cruelty toward one another.
Will end. And I know
that looking at the night sky
is me looking at the past. At light
that’s long escaped and travels alone
but won’t always.