Neighbors At 2 A.M.
They’re fighting again. Shouting and throwing
clothes off their balcony, several stories
above us—billowing silk blouses, distressed
jeans—flailing half-human forms plunging
toward cool sod like suicides. One by one,
lights are coming on in the courtyard of the complex.
A humid night, gray-green fog has gathered
in damp St. Augustine, like the angel of death
in Cecil B. DeMille’s The Ten Commandments.
Shouldn’t we smear blood on our doorposts,
our lintels? Blood—isn’t that what they are after,
turning themselves inside out, drowning
each other in the rapids of their hearts,
getting swept over the falls, swearing a final oath
in Oblivion’s bittersweet name? Shouldn’t we all
gather at the river, tread its bright banks,
find a sacred spot where laurels exhale their long, unison breath—
every leaf a tongue, every branch a choir
canting its last overture? Don’t we need
to sit zazen in the midst of gnarled trunks,
offer confessions? Listen—now the sound
of furniture breaking on the rocks below
our window, a surfeit of hate shaking
our foundation—flecks of spackle sifting
through the tired light of our own closets,
like sequins falling from a wedding gown.
(Previously published in Alaska Quarterly Review)