(04/10/1978 / Berrien Springs)

By That Hidden Date On The Calendar Of Injured Gifts

Now here is another thing for you,
Imperfectly fleeting:
Words which would have stayed as if in stone,
If they knew their older brother’s wiser crafts:
These are just dalliances
For your eyes,
Chancy rainstorms which dry up on your lips,
The leaping conjugations which need
Your hidden moistures to survive:
That is all,
And do you not know when they come out,
By that hidden date on the calendar
Of injured gifts:
The eager tadpoles-
They would serenade as if in love,
If you had a spare moment to listen:
They would crowd around you and mew,
And look up into your eyes with awful needings:
They care nothing for me,
Even though they come by my hands-
They have nothing to do with me,
The silly things:
They would deny me if they could,
As you have proven in unrecorded history:
They would walk out and leave me right here,
Without a chance of domestication,
If they knew you would let them in,
But it is such a long road to where you live
That they could hardly get halfway to you
Before beginning to dissolve
Into their fancies‘ impermanence,
The lilting melodies of the street-singer’s
Rhyming panhandles;
They are the cheapest thrills of the fairground’s
Calendared visits,
And even as you are about to look up,
To listen, and to perhaps believe,
They, like you, are soon distracted by the closer
Things:
The bright colors of the fair lips,
The auburn stares which answer beckoning;
So they will forget you now,
And you embrace a closer friend;
Dissolving, they will become a reliable truth,
Until tomorrow when I wake up,
And think of you right off, like I always do,
The constant dream of awful distance,
And then we will set to sophomoric work again,
Going one by one across the field
Where the fireworks are lined up and ready to go off,
Showing you in brief expulsions of
Colorful truth,
The patriotism we keep in our chests,
The lovely propagandas our fingers shoot-off
Like harmless wands above the driest field,
A display thirsting for your attention.

by Robert Rorabeck

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