Love was an orphan in the atrium,
cleaning on ice, eating narwhals,
and ambling the halls of its blood.
The halls were littered with tusks
mistaken purity, atrophied trophies
of what was untasted, untouched.
The vulture eats what would kill me,
not death but whatever is beyond death.
Our towers of silence hold no one up,
no ribs emerge like strips of sand at low tide.
The towers are bare and have no windows
and signify nothing. We don’t build them,
but they grow up thousands of miles apart,
and the strands of silence are taut between,
and every now and again one vibrates,
becoming a stirring in one of our guts,
a gap in the processional of chewed-up cud.
And death may be a gap in the processional
of love or love a gap in death’s gradual seeping,
like ink drifting through the fibers of wet paper.
Who can live enough, love enough, to tell
which is the water and which is the well, or which
is the armored shell around the fragile labor
within the quiet animal. Firmament above, below–
all the particulate is similar, is animate in waves.
We surround ourselves with all the many names.
We comfort ourselves with all the many names,
that hide the indifferent presences of things.