Object Permanence
and Other Poems

Object Permanence

I want to know how things will end. I’ve heard of the beginning,
how grains of pollen fell from the poplars. Then a little choral

music, cavalry, bright skirmish on the hillside, a thousand
years of this. Here is a flute and here is a steamship. Here is a gun

and your grandmother’s ring. The devil has seven blue heads,
and when we draw him on the inside of the chapel, each one

tells a different lie. How many gods do you believe in?
How many good men? The story of the world can be told

in relation to umbrellas, invented in the seventh century
when we finally had enough rain. Don’t look at the gun

directly. And don’t remove the flute from its sheath of ice.
The end’s already in motion, the end was starting this whole

time, and today Brooklyn is a beautiful, devastating autumn.
Everyone I love is dancing in the plaza. A band plays below

the archway, we’re drinking wine and rolling up our sleeves
to show the soft parts of our arms. When this ends I hope

it ends completely. How brave I feel right now, watching
my old friends beside my father and imagining the end

as one imagines something certain, a birthday or a doctor’s
visit. Not like last year when we watched the movie about

ruins—I ignored the crusted amphitheater and wanted
to touch you. It was February. You wore a long blue coat.


People on couch
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