To Know God, to Love God, and to Serve God

I am a bowl of fruit
on a shelf in a store
in Chinatown, rotting—

Evaporating up
and breathing sweetness on
the world of ghosts and air—

Collapsing on the inside,
flesh melting and pulped,
flies drinking from the skin.

I often think about
the tables God has built—
where they are now, and with whom.

If they were buried in
the mud of history,
decaying in cold earth.

Or what they looked like, how
Constructed—heavy or
light, bare or ornamented.

If there were any he
destroyed for defects in
the workmanship or grain.

How many times he made
attempts and threw away
the work he couldn’t use.

Like any starving artist
in any east coast city,
obscure, ignored, unloved.

Compelled to do the will,
led blindly by the will,
submitting to the will.

In Bronxville

O Lord—

Deliver me from chic boutiques
And Sarah Lawrence students
And women realtors and their cars
Their husbands and their tucked-in shirts

Deliver me from second homes
And maids who have to take the bus
Lake houses, beach vacations
Whatever else that comes to mind

O Lord—

I know you like to live where weeds
Spring up like little trees and bloom
Like shrubs and spread their roots and break
The pavement into small black pebbles

Their branches reach out from inside
Of basement windows, the shards of
Glass stained brown with dirt, floorboards forced
Apart and ceding greenery

God breaks down the house—he turns the
Wood to mush, makes the ceiling sag,
He cracks the stone foundation with
A long slow soak of mud and rain

As if to gently introduce
The world to come: empty basins where
The oceans used to be, the cities
Mowed down like overgrown fields

And mountains turned to powder and
Stars dropping one by one: small and
Cold like hail, keepsakes from a world
We never knew we didn’t need

How it Ends

A consciousness
in the chest—
attempt to feel

the space within—
how rhythmed, how
paced, erased,

how still. Until
the mirror moves,
reflecting smoke,

internal dusk,
rust, snails, shells, grime,
fine particles

of night inside.
Can fingers probe
in throats and eyes,

in sacs, glands, pips,
in polyps,

thus visited,
thus visible,
how peaceful,

how terrible.
the way the gears

still run. For years
and then for more
slow years. Is it

like anything
else, can it be
so simple—

is this how it
ends—peaceful and
like everything—

light headed when
you stand—is this
how it ends

The Small Things

It’s the small things in life
Like coffee after lunch
Like resurrecting birds
You find dead in the street

A frail corpse in a box
You tried to bury once
But it kept rising up
No matter what you did