from THE CITY OF PARIS HAS YOU IN MIND TONIGHT
When G died began the midnight panic attacks.
He spoke French and English
but that didn’t help.
How the body can betray.
It frayed and decayed and then
he was removed
from it promptly and with force.
To begin with, a bit of pressure
in the throat.
A tendency to choke.
And then how lavishly
it grew to overtake him.
At the funeral his wife
had a gaudy kind of beauty.
Sheer and elegant in a champagne
silk blouse. And where did he go?
No matter where on this earth
and you could never find him.
Flowery and young
came the mourners, like bridesmaids.
G would have liked it that way.
Stilettos and stockings.
The curves of the widow
sleek and sublimate in blacksilk pants.
went shopping or to the movies.
We drove to the crematorium.
I can only hope
so many beautiful women
come to my funeral, M said.
Just at the moment when the person has disappeared forever
they tell you he’s alive forever lucky him.
The church hushed dark a ruin
and all of us inside it.
(The city’s a brute the sky is a brute
though the day is calm and clear and mild
strain to comfort console
but there’s no dispersing this.
O incidental fragile beloved one,
chance of recovery none).
The mind rivers out, angle by angle.
He was sick and now nowhere
and soon the cities and soon the planet and yet
the decadence and festivals
boys running, couples
swooning on the bridge.
Tonight G’s attached to a city,
where I carry him along in my head,
ordering dinner, sitting in the square
drawing the sheet up over the body
that happens now to be lying there.