23. Horses’ Bones

  Let the air be alive with peacocks as on that day

he almost believed in something–was it god or her ass–

and the moment gone. His wife became a cloistered nun

and left him with the children. Her last message from beyond the veil

channeled Proust, whom she’d never read:

The laborious process of causation, which sooner or later will bring about

every possible effect, including, consequently, those which one had believed to be least possible, naturally slow at times, is rendered slower still by our desire (which in seeking to accelerate only obstructs it), by our very existence, and come to fruition only when we have ceased to desire, and sometimes ceased to live. (WBG, 58)

To desire is to live, he has believed that.

Desire begets the poem, engenders the child, confers suffering.

It was the last thing he expected, to be immobilized

by consequences. Elena’s plane leaves before dawn,

he drives back alone in the rain. What to do with tears,

esthetically fraudulent, as someone said, but nonetheless

wet, and the sobs she asked him to hold until she was gone,

not wanting to weep with him on the sidewalk,

briefly return at the bend of the airport exit road,

illuminated by flashing red. His headlights pick up

the skeletal form of the horse sculpture that in daylight

is gracefully raw and at night a talisman of loss,

the empty interior, bright bones balanced on the body’s recollection.

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