As oil is aghast on any surface
first the messenger part of the sky ran
to the bishop part and spoke in uneven tones,
the night was pronounced a trainwreck
from which every body had been thrown clear
and was walking around, stunned to be unhurt,
looking for where all the violence was:
lodged overhead in the dawn sky,
in its fertile cracks, orange untiming the black.
And as it spoke of dawn the messenger became
less true or more sound filled the air
and ran along the ground like hair under water,
in the nervously rehearsing patterns of traffic,
and as it went on clearing speech with the bishop
it became less of a messenger and more of
a rose drying out of sight, a fragrance,
until there were no parts at all in the view
only a laborious frankness bigger than ever
hung everywhere in the quillcolored sky.
A desperate idleness played in the shafts,
a milky bluish luster, the source of clouds
and other fast makings that would trait the day,
the wrong and pleasant taste of its battery
a thing so young even its hopes are bitter,
with a fearless quality as of a bill
unfolding in the warm and penniless hand,
being before the authorities, relaxing again
against the certainty of their punishment
like rough cloth when lying on a guestbed.
Long after the eyes have reclosed
to get indifferent to another hour of sleep
there's this slinking sense of abandonment,
the hole in the side of a hill, in morning
spent ignoring the need to get up.
Even as its faintness is left behind
the dawn still beats, a blue bosk
to mark the day's increasing heaviness,
there is nothing to forgive or demand of it
but it remains, a shameful, bodiless memory
unable to feed on the spinning of the earth.
The thought of helping it collect is an illness
that one has heard about before but never seen,
now it moves out of those tenuous preserves
and waking occurs under a standard, effortless sky,
living like a difficult involvement
that dies often but refuses to go away.
But the rose had been there, a dawn observation
that leaves a hole in the later sky; the sky
that goes on looking even more than ever the same,
rising through a reacquaintance without sound,
without appetite, constantly redrawing…
the body beneath it now a throbbing shield,
a sack, a weed in a ditch, baffled and warm,
a time that couldn't get comfortable…
but the rose, the dawn, the two men speaking
through the poverty of a blush….
And then it's midday, it has been for years
and yet is just occurring, featureless miles
without coastline or balcony.
There is no thought of sleep in it,
there is no place to start or rest, it is,
just as an afternoon is a dry jarmouth,
upon examination a little wider at one end,
where looking becomes a kind of waiting
for the day to close, for the eye won't,
an eye from which the rest of the body grows,
and the clouds come out like workers from a mine.