55: coma, canto 12

canto 12

in ascendance songs
David, he said, is sworn
an oath by god,
gains for keeping
the covenants. It goes,
he said, suchly:
“The lord hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.

If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.

For the lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.”
Psalm 132, he said.

but exactitude is not my aim,
no, it’s King James,
the one I read
and could never ever
remember, no never
but not because I wanted
to forget but because
it was and has always been the case
of my mind to forget
as we all do
things, lines, procedures
valid, invalid,
lies, truths, benchmarks,
lists, for practical reasons,
reasons of necessity,
for to, he said,
to remember every moment
of everyday
would mean death
by starvation.

and he clicked his teeth,
turned his somewhat slimmer
hands into one knuckled
ball, brought the thumbs
to the forehead
and pinched me from his vision.
But he whispered this:
“They say: At home we would be amidst our vast holdings saying prophesies and praying for rain.”

the doctors said,
all the doctors said,
the head, Crenshaw
shaking behind his desk,
while I and my mother,
not son but son,
wife but not wife,
said, Everything,
best I can say now,
everything he’s ever read,
every word he’d seen,
has come back with him;
the vault of the brain,
his vault he can reach
into any moment
for any phrase,
any soliloquy,
speech, or tid of dialogue,
and I mean any:
Paradise Lost from start to finish,
every neuroanatomy textbook
and atlas
I can list,
and, believe it or not,
every little thing you
wrote as a child:
everything, with instantaneous
recall, everything, amazing,
he said.

and and and
and and and
and and and,
we said

yes, yes, he said.
Some things have been lost,
hidden, some things lost,
he said.

what what what
what what what

Crenshaw said:
he can’t remember
he can’t remember
why any of it mattered to him.

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