Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World by Sherman Alexie

Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World

The morning air is all awash with angels . . . 
                                            - Richard Wilbur  

The eyes open to a blue telephone
In the bathroom of this five-star hotel.   

I wonder whom I should call? A plumber, 
Proctologist, urologist, or priest? 

Who is most among us and most deserves
The first call? I choose my father because 

He’s astounded by bathroom telephones.
I dial home. My mother answers. “Hey, Ma,  

I say, “Can I talk to Poppa?” She gasps,  
And then I remember that my father  

Has been dead for nearly a year. “Shit, Mom," 
I say. “I forgot he’s dead. I’m sorry— 

How did I forget?” “It’s okay," she says.
“I made him a cup of instant coffee  

This morning and left it on the table—
Like I have for, what, twenty-seven years— 

And I didn’t realize my mistake 
Until this afternoon.” My mother laughs 

At the angels who wait for us to pause
During the most ordinary of days 

And sing our praise to forgetfulness
Before they slap our souls with their cold wings. 

Those angels burden and unbalance us.
Those fucking angels ride us piggyback. 

Those angels, forever falling, snare us
And haul us, prey and praying, into dust.

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