Black and white is cold,
The bare sky a smudge
A bird passing overhead and
The air as quiet as stone.
In the middle distance
In a wash of absence
A figure appears like a solitary
Hair on a skull.
The camera intrudes on
In a long dark coat standing as
Still as death
Surrounded by impersonal space.
Vacant eyes stare into a glass world.
Where is the garden, the apple tree?
Where is the touch?
This might as well be the moon
Or a planet of silver
Remember the smoke
The grim parade
He is as stuck in place as a tree,
No step available in any direction
Outside the realm of history.
Nothing forms on his face.
By force of habit a machine still works
Inside of him and he shifts with its engine.
The other side.
Brief glimpses of a hand, his mother’s,
The dress she wore on his twelfth birthday.
He is blowing the candles in a picture that was taken
Of the event.
It is possible!
looks as inviting as wool although it is made of snow.
Then his view is pasted over with streaks of black shutters, like when the eyes
Blink too fast and the thought disappears.
An ocean opens with a sigh, there is fanfare and happy applause
on the other side of it, a choir of ruddy faces cheer like summer,
breaking down the cold
At last, an opening…
There is a rustle of excitement in the notion as when a gift
Is being undressed
But the body still resists. The machine will not give way.
It is frozen in its atmosphere.
What if the package is empty, she is not even there
There are no swimming souls either
It was all a mistake made by apes?
You are left with bats’ wings instead, and motor complaints,
And graduating degrees of spirit ache.
What if they keep you awake?
Or nothing, much like this and less, and you have no way of knowing:
A gust of wind catches him on the cheek.
He thinks he will wait.