the world I thought of after he died is not very different from this world
except all the chapels are plain, even among those dripping Irish hills
where thunderclouds break like responsorial psalms on vacant pews
& all the birds are cardinals, even in Manhattan, so the man holding birdseed
on the bench sitting rigid as royalty is engulfed in small living fires.
in my world it was East German punk music that toppled the Berlin Wall
& in the gulch left behind grew poppies that meant nothing. in my world
a snipped orchid is not very different from a wet leaf stuck to a tire & here
the ocean is just another dark embrace that people like me refuse to refuse
— yet much remains. in my world dust under the rug is still dust.
the hair his barber missed is still coiled behind his ear.
a needle still convinces his skin to pinch & somewhere another father
turns a blue lamp into a morpho