Elegy Written In A City Cemetery

Sina Queyras is author of Expressway, Lemon Hound, and the forthcoming MxT...

 

Somebody left the world last night, and last, and
last, and last: wild is the glower of wind, and words
too thin, too meek to shelter. Lament in rhyme, she
says, lament in roses: he was, and is not! It will
always be darker soon, colder, you who are part
anger who bent down in winter, know that your
prayers cannot dismiss the darting shade. No, let us
not shit upon the ground near the lone pile with ivy
overspread, and let me not your giddiness flatten,
for so fine the season, so serene the hour and all I
have left of that moment is this torn scrap.

I weave my bones thru the freeway haze at Rincon,
the self returns again, my natal self: what you see is
the red-shouldered judge of the Quirky and Dead. I
am not man, man is death, and the world pain. We
were all uncountable stars then: the tilt of earth is
beautiful from every angle.

I mourn for Adonis—I expected her to look more
dead in the casket. Let them bury your big eyes
death, be not loud; your hand did not give her this
blow, she was borne to church on glasses of Grey
Goose: Only the bottle knows she is gone. Damn the
snow, an uneven basin to stroll: the curfew tolls the
knell of closing time. The moon still sends its
abundant light. It is a hard time among these
stones, for all the toppled, liquid graves. A slumber
did your spirit steal. At Wilshire & Santa Monica
an opossum crossed. I thought, two forms move
among the
dead, high sleep, so prescient your
absence.

Small is the poet’s needle, God knows: but inside
the heart a broken night advances in its glass.
Death knelt among the starving children on your
plate: I sometimes think of those pale, perfect faces
who die as cattle, and I can not sleep.

The city you graced was swift. Now that the
Summer of Love has become the milk of tunnels;
now that the chestnut candles burn, so may the
trees extend their spreading, there is blessing in this
gentle breeze. What need of bells to mark our loss?
Shall I go force an elegy? The dead sing Turn the
lights down sweetly. No more for us the little
sighing, nor the grand. All the new thinking is still
about loss.

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