Thursday, April 22, 2010


There is a hidden constellation in the banknotes
that keeps them safe from photocopiers,
from the peasants dream of wealth,
that neverending horn, saltgrinder in the bottom of the sea
the tablecloth of the devil’s sooty brother
your suite at the plaza, your Paris apartment

We burn our bills in the furnace
The blue flame of the hours, of blood, ash
tally marks on a slate of days
a sweet for the baby
a dress, a house
warmth and light, measured hours
my life, wrapped in a bouquet of bills,
An idol of clock arms and cutoff dates
An endless succession of numbers and spreadsheets
Of recipes and things to be nailed, one to the other

On an altar, surrounded by the perfume
Of the archangel, by the glittering skull
By the saints and rabbits
Is the hour of the morning
When you are mine alone,
When I am in the house we carry between us
Like a tortoise shell,
The littlest ones asleep, unknowing
When we are only who and what we are
And the dead world breathes
the smallest leaves pull their shoulders up through the dirt

In this hour is paradise
In this hour are all scales balanced,
And you

The people of the world look for heaven
for the ancestors, they burn ghost money
engraved with the Jade Emperor, the bank of Hell
burn paper-mache Rolls Royces and televisions
repaying debts, they give coins to the boatman
flowers for the dead, fruit for the god

Here is this unsteady light we have shored between us
against the hungry, the empty, the lonely
that squats at the end of the streetlights,
shored against the crocodile teeth
of the sky

here is our sleeping boy’s head, filled with sugar sharks
with fish in cages,
all these porcelain lambs, these rabbits
this sweetness in the face of the dark
and you

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