At the National Archaeological Museum in Athens
Pity the dead
children found in
a grave in Mycenae.
The Nine Fortunate Things
—after a Korean watercolor
And the waterfall has turned
into white curling ribbons.
His black-shellacked body
lay belly up on the basement floor,
everything in him already
decided, the huge husk of him—
three sections knuckle-coupled
like train cars: the thorax scribed
with scarabs, compact as a flower bulb,
the abdomen hinged to his tiny head,
and inside that, the minuscule brain
that mounted his little music, day
and night issued meek and fierce
instructions to himself in his dark city.
And refused what? And raced where?
Sought what solace scuttling?
And did he notice or not the tepid light
squinting through smeared windows?
Did he brace his legs against the spin
of the washer’s thrum? Nothing more
for him but this one hard look—to memorize
the six matched dancers of his legs,
each curving toward its partner in a series
of jointed etceteras all the way out
to the hooks, barbed, and beyond,
the ardent tips that almost touch.
“All actual life is encounter.” Martin Buber
The cows look slowly up,
flick flies with their tails,
with their ears, the whole
of their flanks twitching