The Secretary of the Apocrypha Admits to
Another Error in Judgment
He knocks on the door before the sun
is fully robed and says coffee, both noun
and verb, transitive and otherwise. I say
lie down. Commands in my language
take on shades of the aurora borealis
but more domestic, like gasoline puddles
beneath an overturned sky. We do not touch,
not even as the bed grows smaller
and our sorrow sags, an awning under the weight
of a failed suicide. We do not touch
and we do not sleep and we drink a second
cup and I say don’t go, don’t go. Sleep.
My camera has too many functions. Food
is not related to light, he says,
as if eating exists in a dimension
shared only by the sightless. I explain
a metaphor (in English): My heart is
a dropped bottle. See it—the splinters, the mess?
He says, I see. He says, The man who leaped
from the roof could not grow wings fast enough.
You cannot smell the moon, he says, and seals
his hand over my face. But everything
that followed was not dangerous, just damp
and angry. You cannot smell the moon,
no matter how many forms of fruit it wants
to resemble. The smell of the moon is God.
The inerasable space between bodies
is God, and the place where you had more teeth.
This is not to call God absent. God, too,
seals a hand over my face. God leaves unlatched
the shore of sleep. The rest is a lake we must shape
into waves, rocking ourselves awake.
The Secretary of the Apocrypha Finds a Real Job
Love God, says the skywriter, praising
the rain’s absence, and praising his small aircraft
slinging smoke into the indigo. Jesus Saves,
says the skywriter, but with more force,
as if size were faith and not the other way
around. JESUS SAVES is what his motor pronounces:
a shout, an exuberant vibration. Nobody
glancing in his direction expects miracles.
As if mocking the parts of me still in bed
(unlike the parts that wandered through
the kitchen) a dove pursued a jay all morning
in the banyan’s upper chambers. This paper doesn’t need
breaking in, like new shoes, or new horses
who sweat into lather under the lunge
line. Horses learn by circling, which seems strange.
I have watered the garden and swept
the deck. GOD IS LOVE, proclaims the skywriter,
who knows he controls everything and nothing
about his life. I wouldn’t request your appearance
if appearance was the only thing I believed in.