For Steve Gray, in Sarasota
The pine tops burn orange,
loud and strange: a train screaming on
burning tracks into the full moon.
The moon flutes sunlight to my upturned eyes:
I am as unable as the stars to look away.
The cinder block wall crumbles over
the table of smoked meats,
fire in the brazier casting
tiny orange stars that drift
toward the white moonlit clouds.
The cows low. And I am crying.
I am holding my life together
with bubble gum and paper clips.
I cannot hear the music
coming from the basement.
I know it floats up the dank steps
into the kitchen, filling with smoke
from tires burning on the floor.
The kitchen: a stage, curtains drawn.
It is opening night. I claw through smoke,
script in hand, to deliver the most
important line in the play. I do not know it.
I am ten thousand years old,
floating above the earth.
The powers of the world are battling
like waves. The lovers quarrel
like clouds and lightning, thunder
purple in the night sky.
I understand, now, at this age:
the fires of the world will burn out
and relight, and the waves will crash
forever against the silent, blue shore.
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