Oliver de la Paz From Now On, All Calamities are Subject to Change

What I do determines snow . . . determines
all manner of policy. Throw up your hands,

it's pointless to keep the horses tied. But
keep the cupboard stocked and the bucket
filled with water. From here on out it'll be
a hoedown. We're done for—sooner or later.

I'd say more but there's a thingamabob that needs undoing:
my hoses have all got kinks and I don't want my lawn

looking like yours. The sky is filled with unnamed comets
and by my watch it's time for our next solar eclipse.

It'll be dark, but we'll still have power. The stations
won't sign-off till after midnight so don't be persnickety—

I own your TV. That's not just static, not just the bright seed
of a glowing brain. I'm not air-ballooning or full of guff.

I can hear the tumblers click and the doors to some
solvable equations shut. Here comes the jailer,

keys a-jangle on his belt. He's pissed your poems are
deliberately elliptical. Can't you hear the jazz singers from whom

eternity springs? Our hearts are troubled boxes. Listen,
chill out. The after-quiet is a statement.

The afterlife, now that's another story. I'd tell you more,
but then I'd have to kill you. Come to your senses.

The chestnut may or may not fall
on your house. the logging trucks will

most certainly veer. Tomorrow, perhaps
the dog will return. Particles of my indecision

blow across your lawn and become dandelions.
There is loss in the world, yes. And there is blackberry jam.

Such sweetness can overcome the deepest tones—Look,
I don't mean to lighten your mood. I mean to set you alight.


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