Home, briefly

To paraphrase a silly movie I loved:
Dark matter, actually, is all around.

What if the tremor in my hand
Are unseen particles passing through
Having previously traveled through you.

I sat by the Washington Monument
And wanted someone to ask why I was crying
Even though I’d stuck a pair of big sunglasses on
And was doing a good job
Of pretending I had a raging cold.

I didn’t realize how nuts the years away were driving me
Tree rings like nooses, grating sedimentary rocks
Here the echinoid, and here the mollusk,
Here that crack running through
That nakedly splits me in two
(You’ve made another dirty joke in your head just now
Not clever enough to share on Facebook this time
And poured another girl more wine).

You’re damned if you don’t
You’re damned if you do
That’s why I only surrendered
An earlobe to you
My left breast
Went to someone else
My soul to the soldier –
Who never takes off his body armor
I feel it when I drape a leg across him
Before the dawn, when darkness is thickest
For God’s sake
Why do men have to be so complicated.

There are things one shouldn’t do without:
Love, friends, oyster lace, waiters that make small-talk, America.
America at dawn, with a small Baptist church
Like a dunce cap its too-big steeple
Being circled by – you guessed it – an eagle
As I stare dumbfounded with a plastic cup of coffee
Thinking “I need to come home again, finally, finally.”

My love, my love, America
Your reproachful security guards
Have a Hopper-like solitude in their eyes
Figures on a canvas together
That couldn’t be more apart.

What if all that you’re missing is on the other side
Of the particle divide?
What if dark matter is God
What if I one day learn to shut up.

There is no point in revealing
Only the safe, taut, irreproachable parts of oneself
The parts that ripen and grow heavy
For someone else’s pleasure
Before peaking and bursting and spilling
In a quick, ineffectual rain
Pounding the sidewalk in vain.

But there is equally no point
In thinking the elaborate, unreadable, too-personal patterns
Of your pain are worth someone else’s time.

We all walk through our own labyrinths
Just a few of us smart enough to carry string.

I’ve failed at everything I wanted
And I am so relieved.

Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Evening, 1939
Edward Hopper, Cape Cod Evening, 1939

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