Wednesday, August 20, 2014


It's all right, you said:
all your life you have been hurt.

All this sky
and the wafts of winter that come
from gray canvas clouds, like
exhalations from the lobbies of hotels
when you walk sweating by the doors
in August (this month, the month
when the guns spoke and were silent) --

A cool air, a vacancy
where the heat has been taken away,
and you lean in toward the riches
that can afford to spill even this
absence of heat --

As the better sort of servant
I have been everywhere:
the dressing rooms, the spare
refrigerators full of champagne;
the poolsides with fires that dance
on top of sparkling heaps of white quartz.

And I know this: that under the silk
and the terry robes, there are bodies just the same,
scarred and suffering, written over
with the charact'ry of pain.

But this sky, where we began --
this August sky speaks
of winter high up and long ago;
of snow sifting down, and its light
has no kindness.

The fine white criss and cross
might have been written anywhere:
I learn to read with difficulty,
sounding out the words with my fingers.
It's all right, you said. 
All your life you have been hurt.

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