65: coma, canto 18

canto 18

yes, my father, larger
than life told me
deepsleeping stories,
how the young and the old,
the hairless and bearded,
the thin and the large,
would leave their beds
with images of sleep
in their eyes and in their hands
and in their pockets
and in their bags
and in their stomachs.

the birds would sing.
The stars would blow
golden winds to clutter the heavens
and curtain its widths
across and distort
the blacknesses of time.
The horses with horns
from their foreheads, stomping.
The warm stone tops
in which meditators
reluctantly stood
and walked out.

he said:
I saw absolutely nothing
but with little effort, seated
at his desk with his hands
on the uneven topology of this strange
truth, but giving
some amount of extra breath
to the word nothing
so that absolute
played the roll
of a rising surface,
though not of too much length,
at the edge of which, the word
dropped a small distance
to rest on the ether of meaning
like a great black whale
grown still and waiting
at some oceanic crossroads.

but I don’t know why
it should or shouldn’t matter
but I hear the urgency,
the urgency of your question,
and so I respond,
merely respond
with the truth.
But I do have my own
question, he said:
what does the nothing mean?
What should I do with it?
It’s like a rock in my head.

but I do remember
once seeing, yes, a cross
shape floating over the grass,
some unlikely insect
whose wings I could not see,
this floating insect
crossing my vision,
wingless but winged
and thin as spider legs,
an insect you’d think
would be crushed
by even the lightest breeze,
and I remember wondering:
how can such a thing be living?

outside his office,
I pressed my back
against the wall,
felt the wall
at the back of my head,
feeling my father
at his desk
like a great dark
whale waiting,
like a great cave
wondering at the silence
of absences,
the ponderousness of nothing.

my mother
I saw
clacking the plates
in the washer,
taking a towel
to the wetter ones,
looked at me
through the door to the kitchen
and said:
I’m still waiting
for the edge of the plateau.
I’m still waiting
for him to wake up.

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