I know it seems the dead should know more than we do,
looking back at us through a needle’s eye,
but the truth is once the eye closes it’s closed forever:
the handle breaks clean off and there is no longer
a way to hold the knowledge of a hard day’s work.
The man who smiled at you once in the street.
I stood at the edge of a field
afraid to enter. I stood at the edge
of a field of her, birds gleaning
then lifting from seed
without reason or wrong-
doing. It was like a kiss
how she steered away, on her bike,
how I ran after, my face red with want
that last day of first school.
The boys dancing for money on the A train
know the exact shapes of their bodies:
they wheel and leap, flex to pose and bend to clasp
each other. The man in me
catches ab and wrist, shirt falling
above pec, held there. The halting, wet navel.
The original heart had no valves.
You placed your fingers inside instrument’s bloody bell
to change its pitch. As suddenly:
choruses of drills, hammers, keys in locks.
Fields of garlic sweetened in the ground.
The world’s women continue their work of rejoicing,
and the men—pretending nothing has changed—
weep in the dark, afraid of what might happen.