92: coma, canto 33

canto 33

look at all the water
surrounding you,
who would ask me for more?

look how your father
with the club of his hand
waves as the crowds
embark with that old fridge,
those book boxes,
crates of wine year-aged,
at the window you watch
with your mother,
who may or may not be weeping,
as a van departs with a mattress,
a truck with a couch,
several cars with his
downstairs electronics,
the hospital’s library van
with his store
of books on the history
of science, neurology,
and esoterica on subjects
phrenological, physiognomical, pathognomical,
for kicks,
and he will come
in when it’s all gone
and lay the bandaging
down on the counter
and it will push a coffee cup
a few inches until he remembers
to use his other hand
and he asks you the condition
of Imelda, Lucy, Henry, Cruz, Maricela
and you ask him
if he has in his intensions
deep for tomorrow to don
itchy Assisi robes, bound about the waist
by string, would he attend to the lepers
on the street corners,
would he divorce my mother
and remarry Lady Poverty,
and maybe the marring under those bandages
he considered another form
of stigmata, yes, that’s it,
mata mar, blood by god’s saw,
I can follow you over concrete
by the sandal prints you leave behind?

but he smiled.
The destroyer comes,
he said, the everskeptic.
My mistake, he said,
to have, I assume, overdrafted
you into the arcana of my science
and the stories which must, over time,
have come to sound absurd,
contradictory, the images,
the emotions,
my white room . . .

which interprets
something you disintend
to prove, I said . . .

. . . my white room,
he repeated, with his coffee,
with his wound,
my mother outside now
working to clean things,
examining some little destruction
to her beds,
the white room god gave me,
he said, and, no, he said,
if I have to answer you,
I don’t intend to follow the ways
of Assisi; I intend, rather,
to wander these rooms
and count, to deincrement,
to encounter the emptier spaces
and ask of him, What else,
in the way of the hard and physical?
And to perhaps wonder why
it is that you find me dishonest;
why you can’t take me seriously;
what that horror in you means:
jealousy, regret, maybe even a dose
of envy, that I have comfort,
that I have some amount of courage
little known to you, to let this world go?

I reminded him of his manic
disposition, that what I regretted
was the loss of his fingers,
that I regretted the loss
of his reason, point blank, I said it:
do you not recall that you
said you saw nothing,
that you woke with the severest
memory loss from deepsleep
and denied us,
that we learned to live
with your reckless quotation,
that we must learn to live
with whatever unanticipateable permutation
of you. What will it be tomorrow?
What will you cut off tomorrow?
What will you do tomorrow
that for humanity’s sake,
for filial sake, we’ll be forced
to live with, at your irresponsible
whimsy. You, I said, didn’t decide
to give everything away
just weeks ago for some devotion
that I can see as real: this,
father dear, is your brain
working some strange magic,
and you would’ve mastered
it in others, called it what it was,
prognosticated by method,
deduction, fingered the lists
of possibilities other.
Do you think I believe anything
you say or do?

and there was that odd
smile of the amputee again,
the smile of the believer
relieved of calculation or premises,
a gently swallow of the coffee,
the sun playing behind him
in the leaves like yellow
cloth wisps playing in wind.
He said, Back at you kiddo.
But I sense him close,
sense him calling, driving,
with your dead brother
there, too. Oh how the strength
of it is like a taste on my whole
tongue, young sir,
my tongue fat with his sauce,
with his herb and with his tang.

he stuck his old man’s
tongue at me and sucked
it back inside his mouth,
clamped it shut,
stood, and left the kitchen.

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