Elegy for the Future
It could be anyone up there, adrift
in the pale light of the open window,
the angels of the laundry fluttering
in their pins. It could be the breath tone
of a tenor sax, the way it wings
into the tin-pan tune made new again.
The saxophonist closes his eyes to play
as if he were stepping into a cloud
of smoke. A dissonance rises.
And then the final opening, the push,
the way one silence pushes into another.
A page of news halleluiahs in the wind.
And all that is left between one song
and the next, between the shores, between
one life and the future it would follow,
is a great plain shrouded in dark September.
No other soul we know of. No hill. No wave.
Only the flat expanse of solid ground
where a car speeds north like the needle
of a compass. And as it drives it takes
away the illusion of ever coming back,
as if it pulls with it the curtain of night
to reveal a deeper night, bigger
than ever, and hot, dry, praying for rain
the way a man prays for the child
he buries, for the hymn to rise and walk
with its torch, for the storm clouds to gather
and clash, to scatter quiet upon the earth
like wind, like stars, like everything that kneels
to teach the heavens what it is to grieve.