Prediction / Closing the Circle.

Prediction

The world might end in crispness

like a smack on the bottom at birth.

A division of the skin or fascia at autopsy.

The closing of doors, the departure

of planes. Endings without confetti.

An unpedaled note on a harpsichord.

I think the world will end in Houston.

Mold, an extrusion of hyphae on formica.

Accretion of residues and gels. As a mollusk.

Even aluminum will rust. Small animals

will decompose, ferns will grow, pterodactyls

will fly, thick as the day the world began.

(From A History of the Sweetness of the World, Texas Review Press, 1995)

Closing the Circle

My father dies in April.

I fly back to Pittsburgh,

put on gloves and gown,

and choose the method of Virchow,

examining first the lungs,

then the heart and vessels.

Respirator oxygen has chewed

alveoli to newsprint.

Specks of pigment testify

he was an urban dweller, a smoker.

Variegations suggest pneumonia,

bronchopneumonia, opportunistic fungi.

Pocks mark his emphysema.

I hold my father's heart,

hold it the way he and his father

held the sweet loaf of renewal

at the Jewish New Year.

Currants, raisins, a thick glaze

over the flesh. The roundness

closing the circle of the year.

To the white, fibrous scar

I say, blossoming pear.

To the yellow, red-rimmed lesion,

hibiscus. I have tried.

To his tissues that are no longer flesh

I say nothing. My father's body

is the cry of a water bird

moving across the current.

(From Praising with My Body,Thorn Books, 1992)

 
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