Kirk Wilson

Wilderness (the City)

God has told me something terrible

It can’t be true

My life has never lacked in gesture

My heroes in fact are all surrealists

One was a woman who went into the wilderness with nothing but a city around her

There is salvation in it this coming to nothing coming and asking

Asking the words even though they do not love you any more than the thorns


There is this trouble we make for ourselves

Monet showed us what we can do with flowers

Please learn the flowers say 

the insufficiency of all despair


In the city the woman wore around her everyone waited for something to come back 

It had been there once this something and waiting long enough was the only way to bring it home

A square waited at the center where people dragged burned lynched dismembered 
other people in what must have been another time 

The waiting square became an empty parking lot with ruts and cracks and a high fence 
surrounding it to keep it safe but also to keep it from running away


The city was not walled though through one gate came 
the animals for slaughter the vegetables the tourists and through another 
the diplomatic pouches and the heads of infidels 


The light in the city was especially not sharp

This is true enough but would be different in another language

The language of squirrels or dragonflies or of a human soul in what is called another time 

A human soul can only speak of light because it is a beast always hungry


The woman wore the city

There is the trouble of that verb as if anything can happen in the past

As if everything could sing once and doesn’t and birds leave signs no one can read  

What if she let the city fall around her ankles 


The dead rise up to tell me I am willfully obscure and difficult

Look at these bones of ours they say

There is nothing to know about them beyond what you can’t see