The shaft of narrative peers down.
The soul's a petrified fleck of partridge this October.
Mud-spattered, it thinks it's brush, it thinks
it's one with the brush when God aims
just below its feathers. It's too late to raise the soul,
some ossified conceit we use to talk about deer
as if we were deer, to talk about the sun, as if the cold
autumn light mirrored our lover asleep in the tub.
Nevertheless, I want to talk about it. Those scarred bodies
on the hospital table, they're white chalk children use
to deface the sidewalk. The deer fed in the gazebo,
where the salt lick was barely safe from the fox.
And when the wind didn't drag my scent to her,
I sat listless, half-awake, and watched her hunger
surpass her timidity. I should have been changed.
I should have been startled into submission
by a very white light, I should have shed my misgivings
as her tongue made that sticky sound on the lick
and two startled animals stared into what St. Francis
called a mystery. I should bring her back, the woman too,
the woman who what why words fail me here.
I should sanctify the hospital gown as it slides down
the tunnel of the catscan, to see where
the nodules have spread into the thin, pliable tissues
we call the innards in animals, because they dwell
in scenery, they're setting for the poem, they provide
a respite from the subject who's been probed and lacerated,
who's been skinned and eaten away by the story
when I'm beguiled by the music the hooves made
on the pine floor. I can bring her back, can't I,
I'm bringing him back, the hero who was close enough
so I could watch what was inside his face hover and scatter.