96: coma, canto 35

canto 35

at the border fence
I walked west for a time
or so
or so

went back east
through fierce-looking bushes,
in and out of which black
meat-eating wasps
threaded their orange wings,
and on their branches
seed hulls like skeletons
hung rattling
in the winds
gritty with sand.

then west again, scrapping
my shoulder gainst the chains
and using my eyes to peer
deep into what Imelda had called
Mexico, all the while guards
in their green uniforms
watched me come west,
go east,
west, east,
west, east,
and I swore
my shoulders began to bleed.

on the other side of the fence
people sitting on wooden crates
watched me. I called out in Spanish:
have you seen Imelda?
Do you know where she lives?
A man said, who was very far away:
I know where she lives,
but I knew he was lying.

in the hotel I met
a dominionist
by poetical chance,
with long fingers
and an eye good
for spying godlessness
and good beer
who told me it was useless
to sneak in, useless to sneak
through the fence
for the love of anyone
cept the lord.
Your lord, I said,
the one with the fangs?
The feeder of the hungry?
It on the off chance?
Is it on the other side of the fence?
Mine doesn’t have fangs
but if you mean by that
the sharp teeth of truth
I’m with that, he said, drinking.
I told him that wasn’t
it at all, rather, I said:
I’m with the liars;
one of the demons,
who’ve taken over the country,
though I don’t feel I’ve
taken over much;
one of those reckoned
for the vat of purification.
I observed all that, he said:
but, oh, you needn’t fear.

how big is Mexico?
I asked this dominionist.
I guess you could walk
forever down there, he said.
Why down? I said.
Because it’s down there,
he said, pointing outside.
And that’s where she is,
he said, and I’m afraid
that’s where she’ll
have to stay, and you, sir,
can do nothing,
nothing at all, I’m afraid,
about that.

it’s true, he said,
just as god will soon
govern these united states,
all these civic dividends,
formulations, and transactions
and just as soonly Christ will return.
You’ll be waiting a long time,
I said, but hopefully not as long
as I, I said.

she called me later,
said she was in a car,
a van then a bus then a train
and that the night significant
outside her black windows
was as deep as the sea
with a light here and there
and then no lights
then many many lights
in the distance,
evidence, she said,
of a city approaching.

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