Two Departures from Rilke
Terrified past panic, strict lines collapsed,
their shredded flesh more wound than flesh,
they play dead in a ditch, but won’t give up
their shrouds, which have grown on them.
Then the angels come, oiling eye sockets, joints,
and stuffing everyone’s armpits, left or right,
with an item they failed to desecrate in life.
This way, something saved remains warm,
and God’s hands don’t get cold, as He sorts
the good ones from the ones who’ve spoiled.
Behind its blue corolla, the greenish leaves look dull
as clots of dried paint; and even these blue blossoms
don’t own their blue so much as borrow it from afar;
or mirror it, perhaps: the blue wish to go colorless,
or at least to leave tear marks, like those thinning
Aerograms we folded, sealed, and gave up years ago;
or a child’s jeans washed and washed so many times,
the blue fabric pales: what’s briefer than a child’s life?
Then suddenly one petal revives, a blue hint of joy
we’d miss without those grayish remains of green.