I put down the book thinking
how purity is a curse, how it
puts us off the human
for whom it better fits
to turn away from the shore
in favor of the garbage and the grief.
I remember standing in the nave of St. Peter's
looking at the smooth, dead body of Christ
held in Mary's arms and secretly admiring
the madman whose hammer
chipped the same marble that made
Michaelangelo such a monster.
There doesn't seem much point in watching
the ridge that trails off until the cloud
absorbs the faint rock. I was trying
to make a myth of that transformation,
how the hawk merges with the bare madrona,
the slap of the motorboat hull
followed by the long, rolling wake.
After lunging repeatedly, each in choke-chain,
porch dogs thought the better of it
and rounded their day with a sleep.
A crow came toward me on a road
as if I were no longer wild.
The ferry plowed on without a variation
and I felt almost formal in its transit,
almost a man finally in compliance
with orders sent down long ago.